One of the biggest educational trends experienced in recent years is incorporating nature play. Add to that, the necessary restrictions on our daily lives over the last 18 months to prevent the spread of COVID, and it has thrown into light the significance that natural elements have on maintaining our health and wellbeing.
Children and pets are no different – they thrive in experiencing the world around them and this includes plants. Kids, cats and dogs alike love to touch differently textured leaves and bark. They enjoy smelling flowers and crawling through the ‘jungle-like’ setting of shrubs and trees.
Encourage their learning and development in whatever space is available, whether it be indoors, within a balcony or courtyard, or amongst a wide-open garden. Use plants that are safe for inquisitive little hands and paws, some of which also have the added benefit of attracting pollinators such as birds and bees.
One of the easiest ways to begin and incorporate plants into their environment is by setting up a kitchen windowsill garden. Use sprouts, microgreens, Dactylis glomerata (Pet Grass) and some herbs such as Basil, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.
Adiantum fragrans (Maidenhair Fern)
Its delicate and compact growth makes this the perfect houseplant for small spaces whilst looking just as beautiful in courtyards.
An easy plant to grow and a very practical one, as the juice from its thick leaves can be applied to minor burns and skin irritations. Ideal for introducing kids to the soothing properties of some plants.
Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant)
Ideal as a houseplant, it will also thrive outside in pots and shaded areas. Hardy and very low maintenance, its attractive glossy foliage will suit most indoor décor.
Beaucarnea recurvata (Pony Tail Palm)
A unique looking plant to spark imaginations with its bulbous base and long, thin grass-like leaves. Relatively slow growing but will suit both indoor and outdoor spaces alike.
Chamaedorea Elegans (Parlor palm)
A great way to incorporate a small tree indoors, this low maintenance houseplant is also a good starting point for beginner plant owners.
Chlorophytum comosum Picturatum (Spider Plant)
One of the easiest plants to grow and maintain, it works well in backyard gardens, hanging baskets and pots. An excellent teaching opportunity, as baby spider plants can be potted up that the mother plant produces.
Dypsis lutescens (Golden Cane Palm)
A decorative and very hardy tropical palm with golden coloured trunks, that will suit either outdoor or indoor spaces. Looks particularly fantastic around pools and patios.
Giant Bromeliad such as Alcantarea Imperialis Rubra and Alcantarea Silver Plum
Its’ big, bold form and thick leaves echo the jungles of faraway lands; adding a tropical vibe to courtyard and patio spaces. Low maintenance and completely safe for pets.
Hypoestes phyllostachya Confetti Mix (Polka Dot Plant)
With foliage in pink, red and white, this is a great plant to add a splash of pattern and color to miniature gardens, terrariums and mixed containers.
Musa William Cavendish (Carnarvon Banana)
The big, bright leaves create a lovely shady spot, and pets and kids alike will enjoy playing hide and seek behind the thick trunk.
Pilea libanensis Silver Sprinkles
A popular, low maintenance houseplant with small, circular foliage. Very much ‘on trend’, easy to care for and sure to spark imagination.