Garden fun for kids: Make your backyard bloom with exploration
Spring has sprung and what better time to embrace the season’s beauty than getting outside with your little ones and enjoy the benefits of outdoor play and learning.
Second to being a mum, I’m a senior biology teacher. In both of these roles I am passionate about getting kids outdoors, into the dirt and immersing themselves in the environment. However, in one of these roles I fully understand the reality of how much effort it can be to scrub dirt out of a reluctant 3 year old nails.
The research is undeniable about the benefits of having play spaces in natural environments as they invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, exploration, discovery, and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness, and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education. Not to mention that playing outside offers developmental and health benefits for our children and the mess is about 10 times easier to clean up outside… sprinkler anyone?
Sticking with the number 10, here’s 10 easy peasy garden experiences you can try with your kiddos today -
- Watering the garden
- Digging in the dirt
- Picking flowers
- Planting vegetables, fruits and flowers in the correct season
- Picking vegetables and fruits when they are ready to eat
- Searching and identifying animals
- Craft activities using harvested seeds, plants, flowers and rocks
- Composting, recycling and mulching
- Replanting and re-potting
If your keen on getting a little more dirty and inviting a few more guests to your yard, then you’ve got to set up one of these mini habitats below:
A frog hotel is a great way to encourage native frogs to visit your garden and provide vulnerable frog species with a safe supplementary habitat to visit, or even stay for a while.
You can build a frog hotel for around $35 using PVC pipe, bowl, water plants and even cheaper if you are able to recycle some materials you already have from home.
Step by step instructions are on this post on Instagram.
Native Bee Hive
Stingless bees (genus Tetragonula and Austroplebeia) are important pollinators and are increasingly popular for beekeeping at home. Having a nest or box of Native bees is a great addition to your backyard as they will help pollinate your plants, may supply you with honey, and are a great way to encourage conversations and awareness of conservation.
You can buy stingless bees and care for them in your garden, or you can create a bee-friendly garden and encourage native bees to visit.
A few tips from Aussie Bees that we incorporate in our garden are to
- Select and grow plants that flower right through the year or a selection of plants that flower in different seasons.
- Select flowers with a variety of colours and shapes and
- Avoid insecticides in your garden as they will kill both garden pests and native bees.
Bird Feeders and Worm Farms are another way to increase sustainability in your garden and create habitats for native animals. Both are super easy to set up and you can find everything you need at a local hardware or garden store.
If your feeling crafty and your kids have finished off the milk, you can create really cute butterfly feeders by recycling and painting a milk carton and adding in some sugar syrup.
We made these little feeders when we were inspired by #rudienudierecycledplay and they’re an easy addition to any garden to give butterfly’s a little extra zing in their flutter. Check them out here.
Last but definitely not least - why not consider caring for some chickens. I can say from my perspective, in a household full of boys, it's nice to have a few girls around!
The benefits of raising chickens goes beyond just fresh eggs. Your kids will have the opportunity to learn about responsibility, animal care and the fascinating life cycle of chickens, sustainable living, fertilizer production and you become a little closer to being self-sufficient. Not to mention these girls have some curious personalities that bring a whole carton of joy to our backyard!
So embrace the mess, savour the fresh air, and create some cherished memories as you watch your garden (and children) grow!
This blog was written for Rudie Nudie Designs by Mon from @_lets.play.today - make sure you follow her on instagram for more outdoor and play inspiration.