As a parent, you know it’s good to get your children outside, even on those cold unappealing days when it’s tempting to snuggle up in front of the TV.
The trouble is how to inspire your children (or persuade and cajole them) to put down their tablet or switch off the TV and get interested in the great outdoors?
Well the good news is that with a bit of imagination and not much expense if any, it’s not too hard to come up with some cool garden project ideas to get your kids all fired up and outside.
And here’s our top 3 to help get you and your kids off to a flying start:
Most electrical devices have a camera these days, whether that’s a tablet or a phone but failing that, the chances are that you may have an old camera lying around somewhere.
With a camera each, get your kids outside and challenge them to get close ups of the flora, fauna and wildlife.
It’s amazing what good shots you can get with even a basic camera these days and it turns a short trip into the garden into a real journey of discovery as they try and capture the perfect or most unusual shot!
How many different insects can they find, how close up can they get or is there a detail on a branch or in the moss that they’ve never noticed before?
They can compare their photos or catalogue what they found, including the where and the when?
You can even get them involved with research if for example, they find something rare like a great crested newt (although be very careful if you do, because they are protected and you mustn’t capture, disturb or harm them).
The chances are they’ll enjoy being creative, learn a whole load of stuff and start really enjoying the detail that makes up our gardens.
A garden project doesn’t have to be big or even outside! Take an old fish tank, plastic tray or an old plastic box as the base.
Then line it with shingle or stone and put different plants in different containers inside.
You can add boulders (in the shape of stones or rocks), plant seeds such as watercress and watch them grow or even bulbs which grow into flowers like hyacinth or narcissus. And you can create the mini garden of your choice all from the comfort of a sunny windowsill.
And if you still want to get outside, why not turn an old fish tank or a bucket into a water garden and plant it up with a couple of water plants.
If you have boys but probably some of your girls too, you already know how they love worms. So why not harness some of that love and make your own wormery.
All you need is a clear glass jar, some sand, damp soil, a few old leaves and peelings and some dark paper. Oh and worms, you’ll need them too.
Add a 1 cm layer of sand to the jar, followed by a thicker layer of soil, then another thin layer of sand and repeat until you are almost at the top of the jar (about 5cm short should do it).
Then add worms and top off with the dead leaves and any old veggie peelings.
Then put the lid on (with a couple of holes in it) and cover the jar in the dark paper. Leave the jar in a cool dark place for a week or two, before you take a peep and see what your worms friends are up to!
There are stacks of other cool science projects for your kids to enjoy from making a bird feeder and taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch Survey, to monitoring rain fall, making wind chimes or simply growing an A- to Z of plants! We’d love to know what inspires your children to get outdoors or see some of your children’s photos. Share them with us on our social pages or in the comments below. Now go on, be inspired and get outside with your kids!