The start of Spring marks the start of the horticultural show season. These are great traditional local community events to get involved in. No longer just for the retired, older population, but are fun for all the family and particularly the kids. Here are 10 Reasons Why We Should be Encouraging Our Children to Enter Horticultural Shows.
Horticultural shows are a great British tradition. The Royal Horticultural Society itself was founded in 1804, but many of the local town and village horticultural societies date back to the 17th and 18th century.
Local horticultural societies hold their shows once, twice or even three times a year. Often in the local village hall, or at the village fete or show, they encourage keen amateur gardeners and crafters to come and enter their exhibits. These can be anything from home grown vegetables, flower arrangements, handicrafts, cookery exhibits and even photography. Historically they also had agricultural classes and even ploughing classes. Nowadays these classes don’t exist, but the societies and shows still form an important part of village communities’ history.
Most horticultural shows also have a special children section, with classes that cater for all ages and age specific crafts or projects to enter.
I remember going to our local show as a child, and wandering around the village hall looking at all the impressive flower arrangements and plates of vegetables. My favourite class used to be who can grow the longest runner bean! It’s still one of the classes I find interesting, and maybe one year I may have something to enter into it!
Sadly the society that held the show that I used to go to in my childhood no longer exists, a fate that I expect many of these societies faced. However, in recent years they appear to have gained in popularity again. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the influence of TV personalities such as Kirsty Allsop, or that gardening and baking have become popular again. Whatever the reason, it is definitely a good thing.
In recent years we have become regulars at two of our local village horticultural shows. I have mainly entered my jams and preserves. I have had repeated success with my Red Onion and Balsamic Chutney and my Raspberry Jam. I have also won overall cookery exhibit at one show with my homemade Lemon Curd which I was particularly proud of.
The kids have entered the children’s classes and had quite a lot of success too. The first one we ever did, Isla made a lovely Flamingo Wooden Spoon which came first and she won most points in the Over 5’s categories for which she got a big cup which she was extremely proud of.
Oliver also came first in the Under 5’s category with his Paper Plate Bumble Bee, and he got a certificate and a prize.
Since then they have still placed and had a few firsts. They love getting the little packet of sweets and the prize money for their money boxes!
So have you encouraged your children to enter your local horticultural show? Here’s why I think you should.
10 Reasons Why We Should be Encouraging Our Children to Enter Horticultural Shows
- Normally the children’s classes are free to enter so there really is nothing to lose.
- They help stimulate kid’s imaginations. Often class categories are quite ‘loose’ allowing children to interpret them differently. For example our recent show was decorate an egg. My children chose to make egg head characters. However they could have decorated them any way the wished so could really let their imagination run riot.
- It encourages creativity in children and also their parents! Most of the children’s classes require creating something whether it be a photograph, drawing or craft project.
- In young children it can help develop fine motor skills. Painting, sticking, and crafting in general are a great help in develop fine motor skills that they will need when starting school.
- It teaches children a variety of life skills. We have had classes in painting, crafting, photography, baking, cupcake decorating and growing potatoes. In particular I think it’s so important to introduce children to the skills of cooking, baking and gardening at a young age.
- It helps children learn about flowers and a wide range of fruit and vegetables. Even I have learnt a thing or two! It enables children to be exposed to a variety of things that they might not get at home. My daughter is quite the flower expert now!
- It introduces the concept growing your own fruit and vegetables. I am really passionate about this, and think all children should be exposed to the concept at young age. One of our local shows has a potato growing contest for the kids. At the spring show they get given a seed potato and a bag. The idea is they plant these, then at the summer show the resultant tubers are weighed.
- They teach children the principle of competition. The kids get little place cards for 1st , 2nd and third and sometimes highly commended too. Sometimes there are certificates, prize money (only a few pence) and even cups for certain classes.
- It can help children’s confidence grow. Whilst I know they cant win every time, lots of shows we have been to give a little bag of sweets to all the entries and little certificates for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and often highly commend and commended.
- If we dont get our children interested and involved in these events then there is a real danger that they will eventually die out. This is the sad truth, our children are the next generation, and if they have no interest then these traditional village events will cause to exist.
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As you can see I am quite passionate about encouraging involvement in our local horticultural shows, and the benefits of doing so.
If you are looking for your local horticultural show, the best place to look is to search directly on the internet or contact your local parish council. Lots of the horticultural shows also have Facebook pages, so it’s a good place to have a look around.
So what do you think? Have you entered your local horticultural show before? Do you even know wher you nearest one is? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this