On a sunny day, it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade your brood to get outside and enjoy a bit of fresh air. But even in the warmest of weathers the cries of, “I’m bored!” are never far away.
So why not use their time in the garden to do, well, a bit of gardening? You might be surprised just how many jobs they will take great delight in completing with a little encouragement and supervision.
Not only will they get excited about being outdoors, they’ll also learn about plants and wildlife, as well as taking care of something and achieving a goal.
Here are our ideas for little green fingers.
They are the curse of every garden but removing weeds can actually be very satisfying and something that youngsters can make a game of.
If you have a path, flower bed, lawn or gravelled area that’s blighted by weeds, give your kids a mission to rid a designated patch of the menace.
You’ll need to give them gloves and make sure there’s nothing too thorny or prickly that could cause them harm.
Find them their own small bucket or container to put the pulled weeds in and offer them a small treat, such as an ice cream or a cool lemonade once they have filled it with however many you think is appropriate.
Creating a beautiful garden can be a complex and time consuming process but that doesn’t mean that even young children can’t take on responsibility for their own flowers or plants.
They will love the chance to take care of something of their own, even if they just start with something as simple as a sunflower seed in a pot.
Work with them as they watch it grow and build their skills by asking them to measure it, draw it and protect it from falling over as it reaches towards the sky.
You are what you eat
Time in the garden is a great opportunity to help children learn where our food comes from.
Many fruits and vegetables can be grown easily in pots or window boxes so even in small spaces, you can harvest your own produce.
Youngsters will be thrilled to pluck their own tomatoes from the vine, smell the glorious scent of fresh herbs and wonder at the sight of beautiful flowers on the end of courgettes or the bushy green leaves of carrot tops, both of which are usually removed before they hit the supermarket shelves.
Make a gar-den
Give the kids a sense of their own space by constructing a den for them to hide out in, relax and spend time with their mates.
If you have an old shed that’s not being used, work together to do it up so that it is safe and cosy.
Working on making it their own will keep them busy and give them a sheltered spot in which to find some protection from the sun.
If you have a gazebo in the garden, let their imaginations run wild as they use it as their castle or military base, in a game of garden adventure. Not only will it make play-time fun, they’ll also be safe from the elements and won’t cause damage to grassy areas building dens from other items of garden furniture.
Messing about with water always makes for a great garden game but instead of soaking everything in sight, ask the children to use it wisely with a spot of cleaning.
They could get garden furniture sparkling again, smarten up old pots and freshen up BBQs. To keep it fun they could use water pistols and watering cans to rinse down garden dining sets, or the garden hose for bigger projects.
If they get stuck in, reward them with some splash-tastic fun such as getting the paddling pool out, playing with pistols or throwing water balloons.