Get the family back outside!
The weekends are getting longer and warmer, and the long stretch of bank holiday’s and summer holidays are ahead of us. Now is the perfect time to get your children back out into the garden, and there are plenty of activities for whole families to get involved with. Here are some of our top tips to keeping your kids entertained and outside.
1) Grow it!
If you’re children like getting their hands dirty, than giving them their own patch of garden will undoubtedly encourage them to stay outdoors, and there are a number of quick growers that can be planted to give your children the thrill of watching their garden grow, without playing the waiting game.
An absolute family favourite, and a ‘Who can grow the tallest sunflower?’ competition is a great way to keep your kids interested. There are a few different types of sunflower, so check the label on any seeds you purchase to make sure you are buying a tall growing variety if desired. Sow directly into the ground in a finely raked, weed free patch. Water liberally, and as they grow keep an eye in their height, the taller they get, the more support they need, and when they start to struggle, pop a bamboo stick behind them and gently bind to give them that extra support.
These are vibrant flowers with the added bonus of having edible petals. They feature in recipes from simple salads to extravagant cake decorations, and are best planted between March and May. Sprinkle the seeds directly into the soil, trying to spread evenly to avoid clumping. Ideally they should have access to plenty of sun, and should be watered but not overly so, and make sure the soil around them doesn’t get too water logged.
2) Build it!
There are plenty of garden creatures that would love a little nest in your garden. Although to keep pest at bay and flowers happy, let’s concentrate on the literal birds and bees.
Not necessarily the traditional wooden box. Birds are not so selective with their lodgings, and a bird house can be built out of plenty materials lying about the house already. An old teapot strung up vertically by the handle will do, likewise a dark plastic bottle or old Pringles tube with a hold cut near the top of the sealed container can make a nest. Whatever your choice of structure, the fun is making it cosy. Ask your children to pad it out with soft moss and dried grass that they can find around the garden.
The solitary bee is, as the name suggests, not a social bee. These bees do not work within a colony for a queen, they act independently and build their own homes without assistance. However, they always appreciate a little help, and Bee homes are quick and easy to make. You will need any hollow structure such as an old mug or a drawer nailed to the wall. Fill the structure vertically with hollow bamboo sticks making sure to pack enough in that nothing is lose. Now place horizontally in your garden, preferably in a semi-permanent position, rather than hanging down.
3) Eat it!
Tomatoes are easy to grow and kids enjoy watching them change colour, much easier to help small people work out when something is ripe! Cherry tomatoes are great for kids ass their smaller size means they will ripen quicker. But admittedly, not to every kids taste but it is a great place to start with vegetable planting.
Failing to convince your child to help with a vegetable patch? … enter strawberries! They are quick and easy to grow and I’ve yet to meet a child that doesn’t love them. Plant them in sunny spot in fertile soil. They can be planted pretty much anywhere, so if you don’t have a garden, get yourself a hanging basket or a container and start planting. Water them frequently, but make sure you getting at the roots, and not constantly at the top of the plant, and watch them grown. Pick, wash and let your children eat their home grown strawberries.
We hope you’ve enjoyed some of our top tips on having fun with the kids outside in the garden! Send us your own pictures by using #grabagardener on Twitter & Instagram or tweet us with us @grabagardener we’ll share the best pictures and if you have any questions one of our expert team will try to help you out!