7 Ideas for Children to Make Things for Your Garden.
Now that the days are getting drier and more spring-like (hopefully), the time is coming when going out in the garden can actually be an option for us and our little budding gardeners.
Fairy gardens are a great opportunity for creativity. Yes you can buy all sorts of beautiful fairy doors, carriages and other fairy paraphernalia, and it all looks wonderful, but you really don’t have to spend a lot to create something lovingly home made. A plant pot you no longer use, as long as it’s in good condition with no cracks or chips that could hurt little fingers, can be cleaned up and painted in different colours and patterns. Turn it upside down once its dry and you’ve got a little fairy house waiting to be placed somewhere hidden in your garden. Little hands will love painting a door and windows for little fairies to look out of. Go on a hunt for some pine cones and when they’re nice and dry, your little one can paint them in a variety of colours and place them just outside the fairy house as trees and flowers.
Planting a colourful flower in a small container is a lovely, hands on way to encourage an interest in gardening. You can pick up little pansies or crocuses in garden centres and most supermarkets. Your little one will love to help you choose a colour they like. Back home, let them pick out one of your small garden pots. Get out the compost, a trowel and a gardening glove and they’ll have a fantastic time picking the earth up and watching it fall into the pot. If most of it ends up on the floor, it can easily be swept up into another pot for another planting session. Show them how to make a little hole in the earth with their fingers. Pop the plant inside and let them bed it in with more earth. This might need a gentle reminder to be gentle… Finish off with a sprinkle of water from the watering can and they’ll be left with something they can look at every day. To add a splash of colour to the somewhat dull landscape winter has left in your garden can really uplift your spirits. Your little one will love to keep checking on their little creation and seeing that it is still there making its home in your garden.
Making pinwheels is a fun way to learn all about how the wind can make things move, and little ones will love to see their creation spinning round on windy days. There are lots of easy to follow instructions online about how to make pinwheels with toddlers. Go out in the garden or to the park and see where the windiest spot is. You can talk about why the pinwheel spins round more in some areas than others and see if they make the connection between sheltered spaces and open spaces. Do the trees move at the same time as the pinwheel? Is anything else moving in the wind? This is a great starting point for scientific exploration.
Another creative outlet for these windy days is streamer bunting for the garden. Some tissue paper in different colours cut or torn into strips and assembled along a length of string makes a lovely, vibrant display when strung along a tree or fence. Little ones can help you tear or cut the tissue paper and deciding which colours they’d like to use. Fold the top edge of tissue paper over the string and stick it in place with a dab of glue. You can watch it fluttering around in the breeze. This would look nice in the window too on days when it’s too wet to be used outside.
Modelling clay or play doh can be used to make tree hanging decorations. Perhaps go outside for some inspiration from nature, or make shapes like stars or hearts to paint later. Your little one can decide what they would like to make. Just make a little hole near the top once they’ve finished and thread some string through it. Make a few different shaped decorations and little ones can hang them on branches, gate latches, even the washing line! A fun way to brighten up the garden as well as encouraging creative exploration.
Make a pine cone garden by placing a dry cone in a small pot of water, making sure the top is not submerged. In a few days, the top will have sprouted its own shoots. If you do this with a few pine cones, you will have made your own tiny forest that is producing its own oxygen.
Little one will love making a bug hotel for the garden. Go on a forage for sticks and twigs in different sizes (nothing too large or it won’t fit), pine cones and bits of bark. Cut up a large plastic drinks bottle so that you end up with a cylinder. Then simply start placing all the twigs and bark you found on your forage into the cylinder. Make sure its all nice and snug so that it won’t fall out when you pick it up. Talk to your little one about where the best place for visitors to their hotel would be. Under a tree or shrub? Near the shed? This is a great way to discuss habitats and what insects need for their homes.
Garden crafts are a great way to brighten up the garden and give little ones the opportunity to be creative. They’re also a fantastic starting point for conversations about nature and science which will help foster a love of learning and exploration. Win win!
Please visit www.thecountrymousenursery.co.uk to find out more about The Country Mouse Nursery in Midhurst!