Help them make a home for nature
Younger children will love using leaves, petals, grass and twigs to create tiny spaces for minibeasts. How about an ant hotel, a play area for centipedes or a cosy den for woodlice? For older children – and grown-ups too – the RSPB has some brilliant ideas for more ambitious projects, including a hedgehog home and a bee B&B, through their Give Nature a Home in Your Garden campaign.
Inspire them to create alfresco art
Water painting is very simple activity that is surprisingly popular with pre-schoolers: give them a paintbrush and a pot of water and let them create art on your walls, decking or patio. It’s great for parents too as this is probably the least messy art activity! If you have chalk, children can create slightly longer-lasting artworks that will still wash away. And of course, children can create beautiful things using natural materials from the garden. The Imagination Tree blog has some great ideas, from painting pebbles to making a leaf collage.
Encourage them to build a den
Younger children will enjoy making a simple, cosy shelter with a couple of chairs and a blanket. Let them take some cushions, teddies and books outside and they will have their own secret hideaway. If you have an overgrown area of your garden, or spare branches or timber, older kids can use their ingenuity to create their own private retreat in the garden. Not everyone’s back garden is suitable for den building, so it’s worth looking out for events at local visitor attractions. Our customer The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall regularly invites families to enjoy den building, along with campfires, marshmallow toasting and bushcraft.
Let them get wet
While a spot of rain is enough to put most adults off the idea of stepping outside, children are usually much less worried about getting wet. With wellies and waterproofs, they can splash in puddles, catch raindrops in their mouths and watch the worms. Timber decking gets very slippery when it’s wet so non slip decking is a great alternative if your garden is due for an upgrade. If you have anti slip decking, you can relax and let your children run around, whatever the weather. It’s no accident that almost every nursery and pre-school has a water play area. Playing with water is such a natural and relaxing activity for young children. Toddlers and pre-schoolers will often be happy just with a large bowl of water and some plastic bottles and funnels.
Teach them the games you used to play
If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, the chances are you played outside a lot more than your own children today. Can you remember the games you used to play? What about hide and seek, hopscotch, Mother May I, What Time is it Mr Wolf and tag? Why not teach your favourite childhood games with your kids so they can try them out with their friends?
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can get your children outside this Spring. Now available from Homebase, our great value non slip decking is ideal for a family friendly garden.