Fun in the garden
Todays blog is dedicated to a mom who sent me this:
“I’m totally overwhelmed. Not to complain but (dad) understandably is busy with numerous crises in numerous companies and between homeschooling, cooking and cleaning up massive messes I just don’t know how to make sure the kids have interesting things to do. I’m kind of alone here… What can we buy/build for the back yard that is not too ugly…preferably non-permanent”
Firstly, no one is alone, I am here for all of you.
The advice I shared with her is what I want to share with you in the blog today.
I don’t want to dwell too much on products, but thought as one mum was asking, their could be more who are wondering if there is anything that they could possibly pick up inexpensively for the garden.
Outside is your biggest asset at the moment. Children don’t mind if its raining or sunshine. Now is the time to check those rainboots and waterproofs to see if they still fit. I personally love all-in-one’s and a favourite brand of mine is muddy puddles for their durability and quality, but there are plenty of other alternatives too!
Also, lots of people are using these days to do big clear outs. Maybe you have some old rain jackets from last year that your children have grown out of and know someone you could pass them on to? Nothing has to fit perfectly, lets just get them out there! It’s like when it suddenly snows unexpectedly, you scrummage around to find odd mittens, dads hat, and an older sisters scarf so you can get out there to make that snowmen and snow angels!
What do I recommend for the back yard?
This is of course effected by your budget. However, I think I have some reasonable options to be able to provide for you.
Tree swings. Swings provide hours of entertainment, I think us adults get tired before the children do. However we can use this time to teach them how to swing themselves, so they can happily entertain themselves. Tree swings can be placed so the seat is very low to the ground, so if they slip off whilst learning, it is only a small minor bump on the bottom.
Tree swings also come in some great cheap options like disk swings, starting from around $15, and regular swings starting at around $18.
Alternatively, maybe grandpa is nifty with a saw and some rope? Slides
Slides vary in sizes and costs, so depends on your child, but they are super fun and like swings, never get dull.
When the summer arrives you can also turn it into a water slide by popping a hose on the top.
One of the greatest videos I have seen is this, which just shows how children love playing outside come rain or shine!
Apart from the obvious chalks outside, regular bubbles, there are Giant Bubble Wand Kits which start at $16 and are hugely exciting for all ages.
DIY Bird House Kits
For those artsy little hands, these are terrific. Children can read the instructions, assemble and decorate their own little bird houses, and discover all the birds in their garden. If possible, place the bird house in sight of a window, so you and your little one can watch the birds without possibly scaring them away.
Who remembers making mud pie and potions out of rain water, leaves, mud and sticks? I sure do!
If you happen to know anyone who is crafty with tools, or maybe it could be a father & son project? Their efforts will be greatly received by those little ones who can now create all sorts of wonderful mud goodies!
Alternatively mud kitchens can be bought easily.
If neither of these are an option, that’s absolutely fine too. Dig out some spoons, bowls and pots, and let the children take them outside to go play!
Lots of new language can be introduced, maths and science. Discover new insects under old logs. Add a 'sprinkle' of rocks, 1,2,3 purple flowers... 'ground' the leaves, roots and mud. Do you think two 1/4 tsp equals 1/2tsp? Think outside the box, is it a potato masher, or is it a rake?
Please send me pictures of your delicious mud treats and magic potions!
How many children love making forts inside? How many children have seen a real tent? Whether it is yours, a neighbors or a relative, I am sure we can all find someone who has a tent to borrow. Let us set up a tent in the garden for the children to play in. They can have snacks and lunch in there. They can have tea parties with their bears, read stories or do arts and crafts. The possibilities are endless. As a child I used to love falling asleep outside and then my mum would carry me into my bed once asleep. For older children, you can *safely* teach them how to start a fire in a small tin dish, then they can eat toasted marshmallows in their tent.
For those who don’t have gardens or tents, of course you can make your own forts out of sheets, pillows, throws etc. and the child will be just as thrilled. I would also like to add that there are some fantastic cardboard playhouses. These can come in all shapes; boats, space rockets, castles, trains, houses… some come already full of color, others are available for your child to color and create themselves. I have spent many hours coloring big enormous boxes and cardboard playhouses for days, and it is the first thing that the child wants to play in every day when they wake up. It’s a great project to get your teeth stuck into!
Use this opportunity to teach older children how to grill. Teach them how to light that BBQ, when to know how to tell when the coals are hot, and let them start experimenting with grilling different vegetables and meats. Children are a lot more capable then we think sometimes. Provide the opportunities for them to show us what they are truly capable of.
Do you have access to fishing rods?
To teach a child how to fish is an incredible skill for them to have. Their little face when they catch their first ever fish, is simply priceless. In addition to this, depending on the rules & regulations of where you are, the child can then cook their catch and provide dinner for the family. What better achievement is there then that? Fishing offers precious bonding time too.
There is so much to be learnt beyond the classroom.
As always I love hearing your responses and pictures, so keep sharing :)!