Living with children in a city environment is challenging. Nature feels like it’s a long way away. From the busy cities of Sao Paolo and London to the high-rise apartments of Mumbai and Buenos Aires, it can seem like gardens are a thing of the past in these concrete jungles. But with a bit of creativity your kids don’t have to miss out and can enjoy making an indoor garden.
We’ve complied a series of Safe Play in the City blog posts for children and parents who feel they have limited play space due to living in the city. Keeping child development a central focus within all the articles, they also focus on making safe play activities accessible for every child, even if you don’t have a garden.
Take a look at the Kids’ Activities page for more ideas on safe play activities to do with your child. Follow our guide to indoor gardening ideas for kids so your little one can enjoy their own patch of green in even the most urban environment.
Create an indoor garden
With a bit of creativity you can bring the outdoors indoors and support child development too. Indoor gardening for kids is a great activity that will encourage children to use their hands and fingers to plant the flowers, developing their fine motor skills in the process.
Planning what to grow will get them thinking creatively, especially when they’re deciding colour schemes. The challenge of caring for plants will give your child the chance to show off their nurturing skills as well. It’s amazing what you can do with a few recycled things from around your home. And if you aren’t exactly a gardening expert, don’t worry. We’ve got great advice on which plants will work best in an indoor garden below (not to mention helpful advice on washing out muddy stains from clothes).
A recycled garden that’s green in every sense of the word
If you have a balcony or a bit of space near a sunny window you can create a container garden really easily. Look for old or unused containers around the house and then decorate them with your child. For example, you could use an old Persil bottle to create a container – just make sure you cut the top off for them with a sturdy pair of scissors.
Give containers a good wash out and pull off any labels or plastic wrapping. Encourage your little ones to decorate with paint, lots of glitter and glue or by wrapping pots in brightly coloured paper. Add more fun to the design by cutting out different shapes from coloured paper and card and gluing it onto the pot.
Now the pots are looking good, put in a layer of small stones at the bottom – this will stop the pots getting water-logged and protect the roots of the plant. Then fill with soil and you’re ready for your little one to start growing, watering and nurturing their very own indoor container garden!
A garden for tight spaces
If you don’t have a balcony or floor space for pots you can still create an oasis of green in the concrete of the city by hanging containers from a wall or ceiling. Hanging containers can be made from old tin cans or plastic drinks bottles. A set of three or four containers will create a beautiful hanging garden. A single container could make a fantastic present for someone special – maybe a teacher or family member?
Indoor garden ideas: Choosing the best blooms
Most children love flowers and there are plenty of varieties that will grow happily indoors. Try orchids, marigolds and pansies to begin with. These blooms come in all the vibrant colours of the rainbow.
Your child will love the different effects they can create by choosing which colours to grow together. Or take inspiration from Indonesian “apotik hidup” gardens and grow herbs and medicinal plants. It will help your child to learn about the magical qualities of these practical plants and it could even help you out in the kitchen. Chilli, aloe vera, mint and coriander all grow happily in containers and are fantastic for cooking or herbal tea!
Caring for your indoor garden
- Smaller pots will only need a single plant but larger pots could hold two or three. Allow at least 10cm between your plants.
- Encourage your little one to check regularly whether the pots need watering - the soil should be damp but not soggy.
- In hotter weather the pots will need watering more often – sometimes twice a day.
- Don’t let your child worry if plants get pests or don’t thrive – this is a great lesson in resilience, every gardener has to learn what works for their conditions. Try a different variety of plant instead.
Got some pollen stains to get out?
If your child picks up pollen stains on their cotton T-Shirt then rub the mark gently with Persil small & mighty biological detergent and sponge with lukewarm water before washing as normal. Just check the label for care details of the stained garment before cleaning the stain. You can find lots more stain removal tips here.