Springtime: Keep the Kids Busy in the Garden
There can't be many parents who haven't breathed a sigh of relief now that springtimehas finally arrived. With the days becoming brighter and longer,it feels great to 'chuck' the children outdoors again and watch them play al fresco rather than being cooped up inside. If you're looking for some inspiration for garden entertainment this spring,check out some of our bright ideas...
Help them set up their own mini allotmentThis time of year is perfect for setting up a small area in your garden that is specifically for your children. Choose a plot that that can be easily accessed by little arms, gets a lot of sunlight and has good soil. Vegetable gardens are always a great idea as not only do your children gain a sense of achievement from seeing their crops grow (not to mention the educational benefits) but they can also dig up and eat the fruits of their labour, fresh and direct from their own mini allotment. With the soil warming up, a greater range of crops can now be sown directly outdoors. Some easy to grow vegetables which can be sown outside now are; carrots, potatoes, onions, spinach, green beans, lettuce and radishes.
Weed out the nastiesIf you want a bit of help in the garden (or sit back and have a cuppa) but want to entertain the children at the same time, why not make weeding into a game? Ok, it may not sound the most exhilarating game in the world, but done with a bit of flair you can tap in to your child's sense of adventure. Pull up a certain variety of weed and stick it onto a blanksheet of paper. Then write 'Wanted' on the top and put it somewhere that it can be easily seen. Challenge your kids to find as many of the 'Wanted' weeds as possible and put them into a bucket. You may decide to create a few different 'Wanted' posters or just stick to one at a time. When they've finished, encourage your children to count up how many weed 'baddies' they've found. Remember to give them some gardening gloves so that they don't hurt their hands.
Garden scavenger huntBring out their inner detective by creating a simple garden treasure hunt. For an easy scavenger hunt with not much preparation required, get your kids to collect items that begin with every letter of the alphabet, or which are every colour in the rainbow. If you have a bit more time on your hands, write a list of common items found in your garden at this time of year, such as a worm, a dandelion, a daisy, moss, a pebble, a blade of grass, a snail, lavender or anything lurking in the garden shed. Then ask them to collect them in a container, or give them a digital camera and ask them to take pictures of all the items they find.
Sow their initials in cressChildren are notoriously impatient when it comes to gardens, which is why cress is a parent's godsend as it grows so quickly. For a fun way to sow and grow cress, why not let your kids grow some cress or mustard seeds in the shape of their initials or their first name? Firstly, prepare an area, dig it over and rake it. Then with chalk, get your child to write their initials or name in the soil (or for younger children, do this for them). Then get them to sprinkle the cress or mustard seeds on top of the chalk letters, sowing quite thickly to ensure good coverage. Very carefully cover the seeds with soil without disturbing the seeds and water well. Your children will love seeing the seeds grow quickly over the next few days and can then enjoy some delicious egg cress sandwiches!