Tiny Trowels at Windmill Hill City Farm: Gardening Fun for Young Children in Bristol

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Tiny Trowels at Windmill Hill City Farm in Bedminster, Bristol, offers young children and their parents the chance to enjoy gardening, learn about nature and make new friends while being outside in the fresh air!

Tiny Trowels launched in May 2013 and has proved to be popular, with more than eighty parents becoming involved since this time. At the same time, the group have transformed an unloved space at the farm into a place where children under 5 can enjoy gardening and learning about nature within a safe environment.

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Sara Venn, the Gardening Facilitator for the project, explains: “Our inspiration for the group was always to allow children and adults, be they parents, grandparents or guardians, to learn a little about gardening whilst learning a lot about being safe outside, playing and creating friendships.”

Tiny Trowels is part of The Active Citizens Project and runs on a drop-in basis, every Monday at Windmill Hill City Farm, from 10 – 11.30am and is £2.50 per family.

Sara describes some of what Tiny Trowels do: “Since May, amongst other things, we have created a Sunflower field at the farm, grown salads which the children harvested and took home for their lunch, including many who had always refused salad, learnt about weeding and soil and the wonder of worms, taken cuttings and propagated strawberries. The aim is to give children a really positive experience of being in a garden and the confidence to have a go.”

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The group enjoys about 45 minutes of a gardening activity, then it is time for a drink and a biscuit for children and tea or coffee to parents and play time in a lovely picnic area for the children. Finally, Tiny Trowels finishes each session with a children’s story.

One Bristol mum speaks of her personal experience with Tiny Trowels: ” The Tiny Trowels team totally understand young children and their desire to explore, touch, taste and fidget, and support parents in feeling safe and confident with the activity. My daughter learnt to plant broad beans, discovered that slugs like radishes and enjoyed being with other pre-school children and had great fun getting dirty.”

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Sarah and the team behind Tiny Trowels have plans to extend the project’s good work to outside of Windmill Hill City Farm. They have become a partner of Parents 4 Play run by Children’s Scrapstore in St Werburgh’s and hope to do some outreach sessions in 2014 and bring Tiny Trowels to other playgroups.

If you would like to find out more about Tiny Trowels, please email jules.allan@windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk or call 0117 963 3252.

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