As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, it presents many great opportunities to get outside with your family. While day trips and playing in the park will likely be the popular choice, for a fun and practical activity closer to home, why not start in your garden? After winter it can be a good time to sort it out and get your children involved in the process so they can learn and have a fantastic experience at the same time. These tips should provide plenty of inspiration…
Split Your Garden into Zones
Plan out how you want the garden to look and work first. You'll probably want one area for yourself (for trying to grow tomatoes for example), one section for playing and a zone that the kids can look after themselves. Keep the zone for your kids and the play area closest to the house so you can easily keep a watch on them, with your zone further out. This can teach them a lot about boundaries and respect.
Take a DIY Approach
Gardening equipment can be pretty expensive, especially when you've got a lot to buy, as can any play equipment. Instead of heading down to the nearest garden centre, get together and attempt to make some things you'll need from any spare bits of wood, rocks, plastic sheets and more. Old wooden boxes and crates are perfect for building a mini climbing frame (ensure it's stable before allowing them to clamber across it though!) or can be used for creating plant boxes.
Use the Trees Effectively
If you're lucky enough to have a tree or two in your garden, don't even think about chopping it down! Instead use this natural asset to create a safe, inexpensive and fun swing. Make a tyre swing if you've got a spare one lying around, or if you've got two in close proximity then stringing some rope between can form a fun obstacle. There may even be enough room and strength to support a hammock for summer.
Plant Nice Smelling and Colourful Stuff
Children love big flowers such as sunflowers, ones that are full of colour or have a strong smell. It adds an extra dimension and you'll be amazed by how many visitors they'll want to show these particular plants to. Consider such plants which should grow easily in your garden and be sure to use weed mulch to suppress weed growth and improve chances of growth.
Grow Some Fruit and Vegetables
Flowers will excite your children but for a real reward and to teach them about patience, create a section dedicated to growing some fruit or vegetables they like. Tomatoes, strawberries and carrots are some good examples. Plus, you can give them the extra responsibility of tending to them until they are ready to be harvested. Start off small and build it up to create a proper survival garden for the whole family.
If your kids really take to gardening then it can be worthwhile seeking out some books at your local library aimed at gardening for children to nurture their new passion. These tips are just the starting point.
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