Getting kids to enjoy the great outdoors is getting more of a struggle all the time when faced with DVDs, computer games and the internet, so getting them to embrace the garden is a great way to introduce children to nature and the great fun that can be had outside.
Here are some fun ideas for spring activities in the garden.
- Nature Hunt
Create a tick list list of about 20 different things for your kids to find in the garden for them to mark off as they find them. Put things like a red flower, a spider’s web (probably to be found in the garden shed) and a bird’s nest. For older children ask them to find different types of plants such as crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils and then teach them the names of the different plants and maybe give them a quick fun quiz at the end to see how many they have remembered. A little reward for finishing the hunt is always going to be a good way of keeping them focused on the task in hand!
- Help sow seeds and bulbs
Help children get more involved in gardening by making garden tasks that have to be done at this time of year into a game for the kids and they will really enjoy helping! It is well known how much kids love having a dig (even when they shouldn’t!) so have them make you some holes and allow them to scatter the seeds and place the bulbs in the then show them how to fill in the holes and pat the soil down and finish by allowing them to give them a big watery drink. By getting them engrossed at the beginning of the plant growing process will keep them interested in the growing of the flowers and you can teach them about how plants grow as you go along. Having a designated “kid’s garden” is also a great idea as it will give them ownership of a piece of the garden and they will learn how to look after and take pride in their own space.
- Try doing some bark rubbings
This is such an easy activity that will only need some paper and wax crayons, they work best as they colour when rubbed on their side. Set your child the task of finding as many different types of bark as they can in the garden. If trees are pretty scarce in your garden they could use brickwork, patio paving or even outdoor furniture to create their rubbings. Once they have collected their different patterns sit down with them and ask them to describe the similarities and differences between them and which one favourite rubbing is and why. This will increase their describing vocabulary and keep them engaged in the activity.
- Help weed your flower beds
Let’s face it of the entire garden chores weeding is probably the most annoying and repetitive. But having some little helpers on hand could save you precious time. Kids gardening kits are easily available and are great for inquisitive little hands. Kids will love digging in the dirt and playing at being “grownups” with this task. The only thing to beware of with this task is you must be sure to make it very clear what is and isn’t a weed or all your beautiful spring flowers may end up uprooted!