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Appealing to kids' passion for worms, bugs and mud

Friday 26 September 2008, 5:32AM

By True Communications

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AUCKLAND

Just what can kids do with a humble planter box? To stimulate their creativity, Cool Kids Grow and the Auckland Flower Show are calling on kids and schools to take part in their 'Plant a box that rocks!' competition.

There are few rules to follow, says Auckland Flower Show gardens convenor Jenny Pullar. "The No1 rule is to be creative with design, theme, materials used (especially recycled materials), and choice of plants."

The top three designers will be awarded gift packs valued at $1500 which include a video camera, Yates gardening products, and a $100 gardening gift card. Winning planter boxes and prizes will be presented at the Auckland Flower Show, which takes place at Alexandra Park, 20-23 November.

"There's something to be gained by every school that takes part," says Catriona Gardner, marketing manager for Yates. "Half the fun is in the planning, designing, building/making, sowing and growing."

Yates has been concerned about the loss of gardening skills in our younger generation, and as a foundation partner of Cool Kids Grow, aims to encourage a new generation of gardeners. "In the past, it was commonplace for these skills to be passed on from generation to generation," she says. "Cool Kids Grow is an effective, positive way to encourage the revival of these basic living skills. Children learn so much more than gardening skills; while gardening, core values become a living experience for children. We are determined that our future generations know that a carrot or potatoes come from the ground and not just from a bag in the supermarket."

Cool Kids Grow was launched nationwide six years ago to encourage, inspire and support schools', and in turn kids', gardening adventures. The campaign has had its desired effect, with hundreds of schools and children registered on the website and participating in a variety of gardening adventures. Cool Kids Grow ambassador, netball star Irene van Dyk, has added an inspirational touch to the campaign since its inception.

"It's true, kids don't need a lot of encouragement when it comes to dirt, worms, bugs and mud. But the opportunity for a Cool Kids Grow competition enabling school entries to be exhibited at the Auckland Flower Show has certainly been added impetus for them to get digging, and create spectacular planter boxes," Catriona says.

For more information on Cool Kids Grow, go to www.coolkidsgrow.com. Schools can download the competition details from the 'competitions' page. The first 50 entries selected to exhibit at the Auckland Flower Show get a free ticket to the show.