Homes

Summer garden fun for kids!

Summer holidays seem to last forever. They can also be costly with constant outings, so it’s nice to spend the odd day at home. My greatest bugbear is the “I’m bored” mantra. Luckily, there are loads of easy, low-cost projects to get kids involved in the outdoors. These ideas have not always got a lot to do with gardening, but they do involve interacting with nature. That’s got to be better than sitting in front of a computer or TV screen!

SCARY SCARECRoWS

Tie two garden stakes in a cross. Cut armholes in a sack and thread it over the stakes to create a body. Stuff with straw and tie off the open end. Stuff pantyhose with straw and attach to the base of the body to create legs. Place bags over the cross-bars. Attach to the body, stuff with straw and tie off. Make a head with another bag, stuff with straw, push onto the top of the upright stake and attach it to the body. Paint on a face, pop on a wig and hat and dress him (or her) in crazy old clothes.

GARDEN CLUB

Build a hut to use as a summer “garden club”. Make a frame using old building materials, brushwood, driftwood or fallen branches. Tie a tarpaulin over the top to make the hut waterproof. Small children will need supervision but older kids can be left to the challenge of building a hut that is big enough to hang out in with a couple of friends and will last long enough to while away hot summer days.

ADVENTURE TRAIL

If you’re lucky enough to have a bush area on your property, let the kids hack a track through the undergrowth. Line tracks with stones or old bricks, make arrow signs to follow and add rope swings and bridges to make a fantastic adventure trail. A large track could transform into a mountain bike trail as the kids get older.

HooEoADE LEooNADE

Pick and squeeze half-a-dozen lemons. Heat 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water gently in a pan until sugar has dissolved, to make sugar syrup. Leave this to cool, then add 1 cup of strained lemon juice. Add 4 cups of cold water and refrigerate for an hour. Add water if it’s too strong or more lemon juice if it’s too sweet.

GARDEN CHoRES

If all this fails to please, get the kids into garden chores. My kids love helping with watering, mowing the lawn with the hand mower, raking up weeds as I toss them on the lawn and cutting up branches from any pruning I’ve been doing – until they get bored. At that point, they usually become inventive and start to create their own fun, like jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler going underneath. The garden gets a bit of water, the kids are happy and so am I!

FAIRY GRoTTo

Create a grotto in a shady, sheltered spot for garden fairies to hide in. Build up a little cave using stones, sticks, large pieces of bark, fern leaves – anything you can find in the garden. Use mossy rocks for soft landings, lots of soft leaves for bedding, flowers for decoration and maybe a small water bowl for the fairies to drink from. Dress as a fairy and dance through the garden to let them know they’re welcome!

ooSAIC RoCKS

Use rocks and mosaic bric-a-brac (shells, pebbles, fairy stones, buttons and broken bits of china) to make garden art. Mix one cup of cement with enough water to make a thick paste. Smear over a rock using an old spoon and then press on the mosaic materials. Personalised paving slabs are also a great idea but the gaps between mosaic tiles must be mortared to create a smooth surface and prevent sharp edges.

PRESS FLoWERS AND LEAVES

Pick flowers and leaves once the morning dew has dried. Remove some of the inner petals if necessary, then place them in a flower press or inside a heavy book or telephone book for about four weeks. Next, remove flowers and allow them to dry out completely. Use them to make cards or decorate school books.

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