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Skinny Jean Gardeners


10 tips to get your kids outside this summer

The Skinny Jean Gardeners, regulars on CBBC’s Blue Peter, are on a mission to get children gardening.  They’ve teamed up with the Homebase Room to Grow campaign to encourage children to get outdoors this summer, get messy, be independent, discover nature and experiment with gardening.

Here are their tips to get kids excited about gardening and getting outdoors:

1. Make being outdoors part of their everyday lives

It’s easy for ‘going outdoors’ to become a planned activity, like football practice or music lessons.  Make it a normal part of your kid’s day and let them out at every opportunity, rain or shine, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

2. Build a den

Den’s are awesome and you don’t need loads of room or special materials to build them – use sticks, leaves, old broom handles, an old blanket, whatever you can find! They’re brilliant fun and building them will teach your kids cooperation, resourcefulness, problem-solving and let their imagination run wild.

3. Get them interested in gardening…

Kids love the touch and feel of nature and gardening is a great way to engage them with it.  It doesn’t matter what they do - weeding, planting, watering or digging - it’s about being outside with soil between their fingers, being creative and having fun.

4. ….but make it quick

We know kids aren’t great at waiting.  To keep them interested in gardening grow vegetables that show signs of life quickly.  Beetroot, potatoes and peas all get going very quickly and can be picked when they are still young so they don’t have to wait too long to eat them either.

5.  Start small: turn your wellies into garden pots

Plants can be grown in any size container from an old watering can to a bath tub.    You can even upcycle your old wellies into quirky garden pots: clean them with warm soapy water, ask an adult to carefully drill holes into the bottom, fill with compost, plant your seeds and wait for them to grow!

6. Hunt for slugs and bugs

A bug hunt is a brilliant way for kids to explore the outdoors and they don’t need a big garden or even a green space to do it.  Turn over almost any rock, brick, log or stone and let them discover the hidden world of worms, slugs, snails and other bugs and wildlife.

7. Create some wild art  

Arts and crafts don’t have to be done indoors.  Unleash their creativity in the garden by painting pots, making pictures with twigs, stones or leaves or crafting a mud monster: make a face out of mud and decorate it with moss, bark, acorns and anything else you can find.

8. Let them climb trees

Kids love climbing! Climbing to the top of a tree is not only a great way for them to discover nature but it has loads of other benefits too including building self-confidence and teaching them to assess risk. You might want an adult to help you here too.

9. Get tweeting

Birdwatching is such an easy way to enjoy nature. Anyone can do it, just about anywhere, which makes it a great thing to do with kids.  Create a bird-friendly space by hanging bird feeders and planting bird-friendly plants.  Patience is the key here.  If you feed them they’ll come!

10. Give them room to grow

Once you’ve got them outside, don’t tell them what to do too much.  Kids are much better than us at inventing exciting games. Let them muck about, get dirty and create their own adventures.

For more ideas and to watch the Skinny Jean Gardeners demonstrating how to create your own Room to Grow go to

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