The evenings are brighter, trees are blossoming and the birds are out building their nests. It’s official; Spring is here! Spring is the season where nature really comes alive again and is, without a doubt, my favourite season. It’s also the best time to get out in the garden. Most bulbs, fruits and plants kick start their growth in March and April. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our gardening activities for toddlers and get those little explorers to help you out in the garden.
Build a living teepee
Browsing Pinterest, I’ve come across these living teepees that are so easily achieved in the garden and can be enjoyed year after year. All you need is around 10 to 12 long bamboo sticks and some garden wire. You’ll need the wire to join the bamboo at the top, as well as wrapping it around the bamboo to give the plants something to cling to. Not only can your child help to make the teepee, but they can also watch it grow month after month, before enjoying the end result. These teepees are an all-natural way of creating a den in the garden that isn’t an eyesore. Chuck in a blanket and cushion, once it’s done, and you’ve created the perfect spot for a picnic or story.
The best plants to use are fast climbers, like clematis (below), sweetpea or star jasmine, which smells beautiful. You can use these to add pops of colour into your garden. Simply, create a circular border and plant them straight in the ground, amongst a rich multi-purpose compost. If your toddler is a little impatient, you could always decorate the teepee with ribbons and bunting while you’re waiting for it to grow.
Growing fruit and veg is a great way of teaching young children where their food comes from. Research also teaches us that it helps to prevent fussy eating too. Veg trugs and planters are an excellent way of growing your own produce in a contained space. You don’t have to have a huge garden or be an expert to have a go. You just have to invest in a few essential tools and have a little patience.
By all means, you can grow any fruit or vegetables in the garden, but strawberries are particularly easy to grow. Strawberries aren’t fussy, they’re fast growers and they taste blummin’ delicious! In fact, there are few pleasures in life more satisfying to me than taking the time to pick, cook and eat your own harvest. I hope that Indie enjoys these simple life pleasures, one day, too.
Other produce that are easy and quick to grow include carrots, lettuce, potatoes and raspberries. This year we are growing rhubarb, although we have another year to wait until we can harvest the fruit, as the plant needs time to mature. We’re not making rhubarb crumble though, no. Mama has other ideas that involve gin.
Make a bug hotel
Bug hotels are incredibly easy to make and there are a hundred ways to make them. The fun isn’t just in building the bug hotel, but also creating different materials on your every day walks and park visits, beforehand. From pine cones and conkers to paper and sticks, insects can find refuge in any small sheltered hole or gap.
That said, different materials will attract different bugs, so focus on one insect species and swot up on their preferences. For example, bees are tube nesters and prefer full sun, whilst earwigs prefer a more shaded and damp spot. Some insects, like bees, are actually prone to parasites and disease, so clear away any dead cells or mould at the end of each summer.
This wooden house shelf makes the perfect structure for your bug hotel. Simply fill with your carefully chosen materials and then attach some chicken wire across the front to keep everything in place. And remember, your bug hotel doesn’t have to look perfect to achieve a five star review from these tiny guests.
Are you planning any gardening activities? Are you growing any fruit or veg? We’d love to see and hear about your projects.