10 Easy Garden Activities for Children while Self Isolating and Staying at Home March 26, 2020 16:45
It's Thursday. Day four of homeschooling for us. And I'm grateful for every drop of sunshine we've had this week as there has been LOTS of outdoor learning going on!!
We are all in unchartered waters and so, here are 10 garden activities for the kids that I've either done myself, heard about from others or just found via good old pinterest and thought… 'Ooh yes! Let's add that to the curriculum over the next few weeks! If you have any to add, please do so in the comments below - the more the merrier!
1. Make a Scarecrow. Thought this was a fab idea, courtesy of my sister. Thankfully there are no rules on scarecrows - Choose to string up bits of foil and coloured paper to blow in the breeze or go the full monty with a suited and booted broom handle, you decide. My sister had her two little ones making scarecrows out of recycled bottles, yoghurt pots and tissue paper yesterday. There was a lack of glue around the place, so one part flour, one part water was enough to keep the paper mache in place. Fab.
2. Make Jam Jar Lights: I love doing these myself, never mind the kids! Tie string around the tops of jam jars, popping a tea light inside and then hanging them up onto the low branches of our twisted hazel, ready to light at dusk. You can also get the kids to cut out cardboard shapes which you (supervising adult!) can then place onto the jam jars and then use spray paint over to create frosted or coloured glass versions. Light them up when the garden gets dark, add a fire and tell a story or two.
3. Lost Boy Headdresses: Embrace your inner Pocohontas or Peterpan and create a few headdresses. Make a simple circle with paper or cardboard, go out to the garden and collect leaves, twigs, flowers and petals to adorn your crown!
4. Make a loo roll bird feeder: Haven't actually tried this yet, but it is on the agenda for tomorrow. And lord knows, there are a few people out there with plenty of loo rolls!!! :) The idea is to make a hole around an inch from the bottom of one end of the loo roll and pop a twig through - voila, comfy seat for a bird. Remove the twig. Create two small holes at the other end of the loo roll and run some string through the two holes to create a means to hang up your bird feeder. Smear your loo roll with peanut butter, or just butter or the one part flour, one part water approach in step one and then cover with seeds and breadcrumbs. Reposition the twig and hang outside. Then see which birds are brave enough to have a nibble… :)
5. Create a cloche. If you are growing your own in a veggie patch, some seeds that you may be sowing now, such as carrots, will benefit from a little extra shelter. Make a really simple cloche to run the length of your bed by creating a little tent shaped frame with bamboo canes. Cover with polythene and secure with heavy stones at the bottom, to keep everything in place. Pics to follow!!
6. Make a Spring Watch video. The kids loved doing this on Monday. They went around the garden filming themselves, the dog, and a whole load of random nonsense!! But also, the odd daffodil, blue skies and forget me knot. They filmed themselves presenting 'new buds', listening to birds and stalking the odd bumblebee. We then put it all into a pre existing template online, and had a grand premier later that evening. Move over, Sir Attenborough… :)
7. Water pots: Deceptively simple and I have no idea why the kids love it so much, but watering pots is a sheer indulgence for them. Your plants may drown in the process, but you will have chance to enjoy a cup of tea (or something stronger) while proceedings are underway.
8. Make a bug hotel. Club classic. See here for more details (and ignore the other activities that require travel, it was written along time before 'lockdown', sob!)
9. Weed. Now, my kids are not keen on weeding and I'll be honest, I'm not keen on them weeding either. "That's not a weed" "Yes it is!" "Er, no, no NO!!!!" But water weeds they love! Gently scooping out the weed from the top of the pond is something those boys could do for hours. All that is required is a sieve and a bucket. Ooh, and nerves of steel - my boys are older and I can now be around 2 inches away from them when they are near the pond… I'd advise closer if yours are younger :)
10. Sow & Care. We could be here a while. So, everything from sowing some seeds through to the ongoing care of the garden is a really easy way to get kids connected to a wider, natural world that is a much slower paced, kinder environment than the one on our screens at present. Today, we have spent some time wrapping up a few tender plants that I eagerly unwrapped a week or two ago. Tomorrow we'll get some potatoes planted and get that loo roll bird feeder done. We might start collecting flowers to press, perhaps one a week during this time, as some kind of record. Seeing the garden as a whole and watching it change and evolve will reveal easy projects and activities for weeks to come. And for once, I'll try not to be in such a hurry to see things move along.