As the weather heats up there’s no better place to spend time with your children than amongst nature. With plenty of wonderful learning opportunities, the best fun can be had in the backyard with the simplest of items this summer.
All you’ll need for this fun activity from care2.com is an empty toilet paper roll, some soil, a few seeds and a clean small ice cream or yoghurt container. Stand the toilet roll upright in the container and fill it with the soil or potting mix. Make sure the soil is moist so that it’s easy to pack in the roll.
Plant a seed in the soil. Sunflower seeds and other large seeds tend to work really well with this particular activity. Then ensure you and your child water the seed regularly and watch it grow. Once the seed germinates, you can then help your little one plant the whole thing in the garden.
For lovers of the wild west, a cactus garden complete with cowboy figurines, is the ultimate garden activity. For this fun idea from craftionary, you’ll need a container for planting, a few succulents or cactus if you have older children, tongs and gloves (for handling cactus), soil, some pebbles and a figurine or two.
Start by filling the container with soil. Carefully plant in the succulents or cactus where you want them to go. Then top the soil with pebbles or gravel. Finally, place your cowboys amidst their wild west scene, and there you have it – your very own cowboy (or cowgirl) garden!
This egg carton greenhouse activity by Hazel and Company is easy, fun and suitable for kids of all ages. All you need to get started is your empty egg carton(s), some seeds and some cling wrap or plastic. Firstly start by filling each cup with soil. Once this is done, you can then work with your child to plant seeds in each cup. If you’re using a variety of different seeds, make sure to label each one. Once well watered, allow to drain and then cover with plastic wrap and place on a sunny windowsill.
This moist and sunny environment will create a miniature greenhouse for your seeds and once they begin to sprout, you can plant them in the garden with your kids.
Worms play a vital role in our ecosystem. This earthworm hotel project by Green Kid Crafts is a fantastic way for your kids to see up close what worms do and how they work. All you need to create your earthworm hotel is an empty 2 litre bottle, sand, potting mix or dirt from the garden and some worms.
Start by cutting off the top of the bottle. Then gather the supplies from the garden and layer the soil and sand alternatively. Then you can commence digging for worms! Once you’ve found a few worms, put them in their new home and add some water to make the soil and sand a little moist. From here your kids will see over time how the worms will move the dirt and soil around so it isn’t separated anymore.
Attract fairies to your garden with Kidspot’s fairy garden. You can help your child create their own little sanctuary easily by using a large container, some soil, rocks, shells, flowers and an old ceramic pot.
Start with an ice cream container, old pot or wooden box and fill with dirt. From there place a few small succulents or flowers around the edges. Then use a smaller container like a single serve yoghurt tub, to press down into the dirt to create a pool. Surround the pool with shells and fill with water. To create a shelter for the fairies, take a small pot and turn sideways before pressing gently into the dirt. You should end up with a small dome structure for fairies to shelter in. Create a path for them to find it using twigs, rocks and more shells. Then sit back and wait for the magic to happen!
On a hot day, there’s nothing like having fun around a sprinkler on the grass. Housing A Forest has come up with a fun activity you can enjoy with the kids – making your own sprinkler using a sturdy plastic bottle.
Ask your children where they’d like the water to spurt from and drill holes in the bottle accordingly. Then using waterproof tape, place the head of the bottle and the hose together and secure tightly. Turn on the tap and watch as the water spurts in all different directions! Hours of fun and plenty of laughs will be had with this one as your kids run around and over it.
This is a great way to use old CD’s, bits of string and shredded plastic bags to create a fun, decorative element in your garden. As suggested by Care2, even if you don’t have birds eating your veggies or destroying your garden, these can make beautiful decorations your kids will love. Simply tie shoelace or string around the CD and then decorate it with shredded plastic or cassette tape. Use the other end of the string to tie to a fence post or tie to a stick in the garden. The reflection, noise and movement caused by the CD will keep birds away from your veggies or fruit.
There are so many ways to get your children excited about the outdoors. These activities are a great way to encourage their interest in gardening and spending time outside as the weather heats up.