This week our kids have been enjoying playing “tea parties” in the garden and one of the highlights for me was watching our daughter pick the leaves from all the different herbs she has growing to make “tea and snacks” for herself and her brother. It was great watching them have fun smelling and tasting the different herbs, discovering which ones made the water taste nice and which ones did not and from my observations it seems the black peppermint was a big hit but the thyme was apparently so bad our two year old had to throw the cup whilst shouting yuck! Growing herbs with your kids is a fantastic way to get children interested and involved with gardening and this week we are going to talk about some different herbs that are perfect for kids to grow.
Creating a kid friendly garden
We have always thought it important to let our kids have a space in the garden that they feel is theirs, where they can grow their own plants, tend to them or not as sometimes the case can be, where they can explore and learn with little interference from us and take ownership and pride out of what they have grown and herbs are a perfect choice for kids wanting to learn how to garden.
Why herbs are a good choice for gardening with kids
Most herbs are easy to grow and do not require to much attention once established and they can easily be grown in pots both inside and outside which is great if you have limited space. Herbs are a wonderful sensory treat for children who can enjoy touching, smelling and tasting all the different leaves and most herb plants produce pretty flowers which attracts wildlife. Herbs as also very practical plants and it can be a fun learning experience for kids to pick chives, basil leaves etc to add to a salad or to make a calming tea with some chamomile or to discover that mint can help soothe a stomach ache.
There are many different cultivars or herbs to choose from and we are going to talk about three types of herbs that we are growing which are great for making herbal teas. All our herbs were planted last spring in pots outside on the South side of our house. We purchased our herbs as plugs rather than growing from seed.
Mint is very easy to grow and is a tough plant that will quickly spread if allowed. There are many cultivars of mint with a huge range of minty smells that include banana, pineapple and even chocolate but we have chosen to grow the black peppermint which has dark foliage and a strong mint scent and flavour which is perfect for tea making. The black peppermint produces tiny pretty pink flowers which attracts bees.
Variegated Lemon Balm
Variegated Lemon Balm is another easy to grow herb and is often called a mood enhancer. The lemon scented leaves makes a lovely tea with honey for the kids. The leaves are variegated with a green and gold foliage and during Summer it produces small white flowers.
The Roman Chamomile is a perennial herb that grows low almost carpeting the ground and is a hardy plant. The Roman Chamomile produces flowers that look like daisies which have a wonderful scent to them. The flowers can be cut, dried and stored for months to be used as a calming tea for children.
We hope you have enjoyed this weeks article and if you would like to share with us any of your own favourite herbal tea recipes or simply want to share with us any gardening activities then please follow us on social media.