As the summer holidays approach, what better opportunity to get the kids back to Mother Nature than in your garden, allotment, or balcony? Offering fun, growing activities outside can go a long way to creating valuable and lasting memories for the whole family.
Sow, Water and Grow
A successful harvest is priceless in boosting a child’s confidence and sense of achievement. Growing their own fruit and vegetables also means that children are less likely to be fussy eaters and develop a healthy attitude to eating fruit and vegetables. Start off with some easy to grow seeds with a short growth cycle. Radish, rocket, and lettuces are all good choices for outdoors.
Flowers and Fruit
If you prefer something more colourful, sunflowers are a firm favourite and you can have a competition to grow the tallest one! Strawberries are an easy fruit to grow and tasty too.
Make Your Own Compost
Making your own compost is a fantastic way to educate your child on becoming greener! Fruit and vegetable peelings, shredded paper or cardboard, coffee grounds, and split used teabags can all be added to your bin. Grass clippings should be used in equal quantities with other types of material, otherwise your compost will become green and slimy. You need to make sure that the heap starts to generate heat and is turned regularly to get air in.
Feed the Birds
Having a bird feeder will attract more birds to your garden and they will feed on pests like slugs and snails. Creating your own bird feeder makes for a fun and productive afternoon. There are dozens of ways to make a bird feeder but be sure to check what’s safe for birds to eat before putting it together.
If you don’t have a garden there are still plenty of fun activities to get your children involved in nature:
- Paint and decorate some terracotta pots to display on your windowsill and sow some herbs as they take up little space.
- You can also make cress or grass heads. Put a dessert spoon full of grass or cress seed in the toe end of an old pair of tights or stockings, fill it with compost, knot the open end, decorate your head, place the knot end in a pot of water, and wait for the hair to grow!
Joanne Evans, of Aberdeenshire-based gardening school, Gardening4Kids, knows all about encouraging children outdoors. Joanne advises that even if your garden has reached its summer peak with flowers and veg and fruit cropping, it’s time to start thinking ahead for the autumn and winter.