Affordable activities to keep the kids busy
Whatever their age or ability, all children can get involved in gardening. They can help plant seeds, water flowers, rake the leaves and also care for the wild birds.
Gardening gets kids active; from carrying water and soil to being outside in the fresh open air, gardening has great physical benefits. As well as that, gardening also teaches kids about the world they live in and how food grows and enables them to see how their efforts and actions have a positive effect on their environment.
How to create little gardeners
If you’re eager to get the kids outdoors enjoying the garden, take a look at our top tips for turning your little ones into the gardeners of tomorrow. We’ve put together a whole host of activities and some of them won’t cost you a penny! Start small by getting them to help with simple tasks such as weeding, picking up leaves or putting compost in pots. As they grow in confidence why not get them involved in one of our ideas below?
1. Plant flowers, fruit or veg
Get them green fingered early and teach them how plants grow with some easy seed planting. Encourage the kids to grow their own giant beanstalk with ‘magic’ beans. Runner beans are really easy to grow into tall climbing plants. And they taste really good too! Simply get them to dig away at soft soil using a plastic garden scoop, and then sprinkle in the seeds. Other easy veg to grow include cherry tomatoes, courgettes and carrots. Growing vegetables is a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from, and it’s perfect for promoting a healthy lifestyle.
If you have a plant that needs potting out, get them to safely dig out a small hole in the ground and gently push in the plant. A grow bag will do the trick if you have a small concrete courtyard with no ground to dig up. Just remember to put some holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage if the plants you’re growing need it.
2. Sunflower competition
Why not see who can grow the tallest sunflower! Plant the sunflowers side by side and watch them sprout in just a week! After 8 weeks, measure the height of each sunflower and whoever grew the tallest will be declared the winner!
Sunflowers need plenty of water. Don’t allow plants to dry out as very tall varieties will have a job to recover. Feed them with tomato feed just before flowering and get the kids to water them each day – early mornings is best. Try and plant them where they’ll get some sun.
3. Wildlife watching
Get a bird spotting book or look up bird types online and let them get to know which birds are in your garden. Make it even more fun by picking up a small pair of binoculars to really get them interested in wildlife watching.
Our top tips for spotting wild birds in your garden:
- Put out some food on a bird table – make sure you keep the food varied to attract different breeds
- Remember to be patient – it may take time for birds to come to your garden, especially if this is the first time you’ve put out food
- Keep some binoculars handy – birds will soon fly away if you get too close, so watching from afar with some binoculars is a great idea
- Be still – if you make a noise or move around too much, birds are likely to get scared and fly away
- Keep a diary – note down the times of day, the type of bird you’re seeing and where abouts in your garden you spot them
- Take pictures if you can – they’ll help you keep track of the birds you’ve spotted
4. Make your own fairy garden
Don’t believe in fairies? Your kids will after making this! And what’s great with a fairy garden is you don’t need tonnes of equipment, just a few bits you will find in the garden…and your imagination.
What you will need:
- Planting tray/pot
- Bedding plants
- Tin foil
- Felt tip pens
- Sticky tack/tape
- Fairy lights
- A small log (for the fairies to live in)
Fill your tray with soil, pop in the log for your fairies’ new home then plant some seeds.
Add white pebbles to your soil, making sure not to add too many so your seeds have room to grow through.
If you’re planning on a large fairy garden you can use the pebbles as a pathway leading to your fairy garden - the kids will love creating that!
Wondering what the foil’s for? Well wonder no more! Fold the foil into a boat or cup shape and fill it with water - it’ll provide the perfect place for the fairies to take a dip.
If your plant pot is looking a little plain, then get the kids to colour in paper and make pretty rainbows and patterns and stick them to the side of the pot.
Add pretty fairy lights and colourful bunting for a truly magical touch.
5. Tin can bowling
To make your own tin can bowling, you will need:
- 10 empty, clean cans
- Any art and craft bits you have
- Coloured paper
- Tennis ball
First thing’s first – let the kids have fun decorating the cans! This bit can be done either indoors or outdoors as long as you cover everything in newspaper to stop things getting messy! Get as creative as you can by decorating your cans with paint, coloured paper and crafty bits and pieces you’ve got at home. Be careful of sharp edges on the cans. Wait for everything to dry then take them outside and stack them up like you’d see pins in the bowling alley.
This one can be enjoyed outside in the garden, or when it’s raining it can be played indoors too! Take it in turns rolling a tennis ball at them – 2 goes each before play moves on, 1 point per can! Just decide how many goes you want everyone to have depending on how long you want the game to last!
There’s plenty of ideas for you to keep the kids busy outdoors, but don’t forget to share your top tips with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.