With spring upon us, the kids at Carrots Cottage are rearing to get outside. Woolly jumpers are being replaced with summer shorts and the snow and hail is finally beginning to clear.
Although many of us prefer to have the kid’s outdoors in the fresh air, it is sometimes hard to prise them away from the football, trampoline and other toys scattered on the lawn. We’ve therefore made a pact to ourselves – this season we’ll let them help with the gardening. A number of these outdoor activities even pack a learning punch. Teaching the children about nutrition, where the vegetables in their lunches and dinners come from and how to size up rows and plot measurements are all important skills we’ll be encouraging.
Our garden is currently a little on the neglected side; there are a few weeds here and there and the birdhouse is in dire need of a lick of paint. With so much to do in the garden, we decided spring would be the best time to start! Even known firms like McCarthy & Stone are currently working on their gardens now – creating one which celebrates later life in their Retirement Housing – so we thought we’d take inspiration from their lead and create one that celebrates youth and childhood.
How to maintain interest
Of course, deciding to get the kids involved was one thing. Actually getting them to ake part was another entirely. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to maintain interest and here are the top suggestions.
As a general rule, kids love animals. Attracting visitors was therefore first on the agenda and was achieved through a quick birdhouse renovation. Something kids of all ages can take part in, the wooden structure was given a thorough clean and a quick coat of bright paint. Letting the kids choose the colour and get to work painting proved a huge hit and we even let them decorate it with colourful pictures for extra intrigue. Filling it with fresh nesting material and food completed the task.
Own your own plant
Next we moved on to the potted plants, all of which appear to have disappeared into thin air. Attracting a child’s attention here is relatively easy (what child doesn’t like getting their hands dirty?) but having them do a good job was more of a challenge. Giving each child their own pot and a batch of sunflower seeds was the solution. Allowing them to own their own plant made them more likely to give it the time and attention it deserved and with a little healthy competition thrown in they’re all waiting to see who will grow the tallest sunflower.
Turn it into a lesson
Children are often fascinated by worms and insects so why not use this interest to help them learn? A worm farm is easy to create and can be used to get rid of your old vegetable scraps in an eco-friendly way. There are a number of helpful video tutorials online so if you fancy having a go then everything you need is right at your fingertips.