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20/11/2012 13:23:00

Garden Crafts For Children by Dawn Isaac

I hope you won't mind me mentioning Chr***mas when it's still only November, but I have a great recommendation for a stocking filler for a child in your life. I'm not on some kind of commission or something(!) I just genuinely think it is a lovely book.

Garden Crafts For Children is a fab book by Dawn Isaac, who is a garden designer and writer of the lovely kids gardening blog Little Green Fingers. If you haven't checked out the blog, do - it's always entertaining and she has some really practical ideas for gardening with children.

Dawn has put 35 of her best ideas in to this book. Some of the ideas are twists on old favourites (growing beans, scarecrows, bird feeders) but the instructions are clear and the pictures are lovely. Some of the ideas are more unusual - the ice mobiles (which Dawn let us link to on here) and the cress caterpillars.

The book is divided into different types of project - things you can plant on a windowsill, food growing ideas, garden related crafts, outdoor planting projects and things to grow in containers. I love the fact that there is something you can do on any day of the year, regardless of the weather, and lots of the projects don't require any special equipment or expense.

I particularly like these two projects, which combine messy art and growing:

Bunny Ears Carrots                                                                Cress Caterpillar 

The best thing about it for me, as a parent, was that when it arrived I was able to go through it and think "we can actually do those". As opposed to the usual "Better not let the kids see that one, because if I have to try to attempt that with my kids I may well have a nervous breakdown, hiatus hernia or both". All the projects are achievable for ordinary parents, with real children, not just the sort of children that other people have, you know the ones who can play five instruments, captain every sports team and turn up on Junior Masterchef cooking a souffle. Yes, those ones. Well, my kids are ace, but they're also human, and they can do all of these projects, without me reaching for the G without any T. So incase you worry about buying this for other people's kids and effectively buying a horrendous list of obligations for their parents, don't worry. There's something do-able for everyone in here.

The book is now on the Book People's Christmas list as well as Amazon, making it a really affordable gift for Christmas at £5.00. However if you'd like to chance your arm at getting a free copy, enter the competition below.


To be in with a chance of winning, leave a comment on this blog saying what your favourite gardening activity is that you have done with the children in your care or seen someone else doing. We may feature some of them on the website! My own kids will pick out their favourite comment and we'll wing a book over to you.

Please post your comment before 5pm UK time on Monday 26th November. Good luck!

UPDATE - Thanks for all your entries. The competition is now closed. My kids - Anna and Jacob - and Jacob's friend Tom who is staying for tea, all read the comments and decided that they thought the pansy wellies were the best one (although there were a lot of giggles at the monkeys too!). So congratulations to Sam, I'm sure your kids will have a lot of fun with the activities in the book, I'll be sending it out pronto. Thanks to everyone else who took part and don't forget you can get the book from the Book People for £4.99.


20/11/2012 20:03:00 by Deb Rogers

Our favourite garden activity is collecting different kinds of leaves in the autumn and making a big collage picture with them. We use an old roll of lining paper so we can make a big picture all together, and loads of PVA! We've kept all the ones we've made in the last three years.

21/11/2012 10:07:00 by Tara Morgan

Our class liked collecting seeds from the chive flowers in our school garden. We made seed packets and the kids drew chives on them and we wrote some instructions. They have taken them home but we're hoping to sow some spare ones next year and hope they come ok!

21/11/2012 10:15:00 by Deborah Jones

i bought some children sized rakes, brooms and long handled shovels and they love to work together to rake up the leaves. We laid down some rules about safe use of tools and they all have listened carefully to these. We also use a large cylindrical tubtrug to pack in the leaves, then turn it upside down, empty it and make leaf castles. These are brilliant for jumping right into and then it all starts over again.

21/11/2012 10:55:00 by Stavrina koumi

The children at Happy Child West Ealing Day Nursery have shown a great interest in the garden/ outdoors recently particularly as the leaves have fallen off the trees that surround our grounds, they often like to colelct the leave with their wheel barrow and rake set.
Every Thursday the Pre-School children have a gardening session which they love so this would be a lovely way to extend their interest of planting and growing. we are also in the proces of building our own plant and flower feature to hang in our gardens so their green finger skills are being streched from all angles.

22/11/2012 10:31:00 by S Stephens

We really like doing cress heads in egg shells, because we always have loads of egg shells and it's quick to get something growing. The kids like drawing faces on them with felt pens etc.

25/11/2012 11:44:00 by Sam

We went to the local garden centre and the children chose some winter pansies. we came back and planted them in old wellie boots and placed them by our front door! the children think its really funny flowers in boots and still giggle every time they walk past them!

26/11/2012 14:51:00 by Stacey

We USED to like planting mixed beds of veggies and flowers, but now we live in a place where monkeys eat everything we plant, so we go out with a water gun and try to squirt the monkeys who are eating our potatoes!

(The water gun doesn't hurt them, but they don't like being wet).

26/11/2012 16:29:00 by jenny

We made our names from tissue and then grew mustard seeds on them.

01/12/2012 20:32:00 by Sam Goldsworthy

Thanks sooo much for our book we won! The children will enjoy browsing what we can do next!

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