Little M has never been one for running around aimlessly and would prefer to be indoors building Lego or tackling the latest incident with Fireman Sam.
The prospect of flooding the garden has always been a good method of coaching him outside, but as with a lot of toddlers, it has been difficult to keep his attention.
With this in mind, we have been focussing on the garden this year, to encourage as much exposure to the great outdoors and some vitamin D.
Seeds & Plants
Growing plants from seed is something I not only find very satisfying but highly addictive and have been given strict quantity guidelines from Mrs M following ‘The Great Marigold Invasion‘ of 2015.
As part of Constable M’s policing in the community programme – we have set to work on a selection of seeds this year, increasing our proficiency and hopefully our yield, with a few vegetables and trees we received from the Woodland Trust.
Bugs & Wildlife
Searching for ideas on how we could start our project, I came across Gardening for Kids – a family run online shop supplying a range of gardening items exclusively for kids.
We chose the attractive Dewdrop Butterfly Habitat and Dewdrop Bee/Bug Hotel and Butterfly Mix Seedballs. These are great gift items and a superb addition to our garden.
Previously cautious around insects, he is now confident around the little critters, and regularly investigates the garden with his bug collector. We then read about them at bedtime, particularly those with a fabulous story like butterflies!
Encouraging birds into the garden with some seeds, suet balls and a little water has been a success this year, although nothing more exotic than song thrush, blackbirds and a couple of wood pigeons – we did have a robin pop in briefly.
Although it hasn’t granted a huge response from the children, it has made me realise I am turning into my mother. I now regularly scramble for the bird book and desperately try to attract the attention of Little M, who’s responses scare them away leaving me pointing at a book and empty garden with a very confused child.
Enlisting the assistance of a child for many tasks, particularly those which require concentration, patience and accuracy is ‘character building’ at best! It is also educational for all involved.
Recently we have been clearing an area of the garden together (above) which has been great fun. We have also purchased a water butt to help preserve rainwater for watering the plants, which after realising the only place it can go is near the shed, I need to put some ‘sort of’ guttering to collect it. I have no idea how to do this on a budget – but that’s what will make it a great weekend filler for my eager four-year-old!
The garden is a great place to try new things, get messy and embrace the outdoors.
Enjoy a walk – Get out of the garden and find some local fields to explore – useful if your trying to get a baby to sleep!
Outdoor Painting – You can get messier than ever! Here is us making our ‘canvas art‘ last summer.
Paddling Pool – There are hours of fun with a little water, a few toys and a super soaker! You can then water the garden bucket by bucket for another few hours of entertainment.
Watering the Plants – This is a great task for the end of the day. It is calming and can be time-consuming!