Are your kids spending a lot of time indoors? Would you like to see them outdoors, exercising, having fun and soaking up all that Vitamin D from the sun? Then check out these 10 ideas below, which take advantage of all the things you can find in your garden. Even if your garden is small, or you don't have one at all, you can do many of these activities at the local park or botanical gardens as well.
If the sky is blue today, why not pack some morning tea and a picnic blanket and spend the morning in the garden? It will feel like an adventure for your kids and it's also good for you too!
Sit outside and make a wind chime, paint pots or do a nature collage
1/ Get crafty outdoors by painting terracotta flower pots, threading daisy chains, drawing plants, doing a nature collage, making a wind chime and even doing Lego in the sun! It is good for children's eyes to be outside with natural light, instead of artificial light, and you can't beat fresh air and sunshine for a good night's sleep.
2/ Blow bubbles and chase them as they blow around the garden.
3/ Learn about insects that you find in the garden. Take a photo of insects you find such as stick insects, snails, flies, worms, spiders, butterflies, beetles, moths, ants and more. Australia has a wide range of insects to find, so look closely - the more you look, the more you find. Google each insect and learn more about them - what they eat and how they live. You may inspire the next David Attenborough! Be careful, however - as we know, Australia has some dangerous spiders (and bees that sting), so be careful when exploring.
4/ Have a BBQ at a table outside and ask your kids to set the table, while teaching them about where to place knives and forks. Pull out the birthday party napkins you have hidden at the back of the pantry and practice folding them like origami!
5/ Draw with chalk and watch them get creative! All kids love the opportunity to draw on places they usually aren't allowed to, so why not let them draw everywhere that can be hosed down. Play hangman on the fence, decorate the shed and glam up the dog kennel! Other ideas include drawing hopscotch or a handball court on the driveway.
6/ Plant succulents or vegetable seeds and ask your kids to water them every day, to foster a sense of responsibility and they can see rewards for their efforts. Older kids may negotiate pocket money for it, which teaches them about working for an income.
7/ Ask them to help weed the garden - once again, pocket money may be negotiated!
8/ Make rock pets from smooth rocks in your garden, by giving them a lick of paint and adding googly eyes! Make a whole family of them and also paint some as gifts.
9/ Make a bird house, purchase a birdbath or use binoculars to look for birds in the garden. It is amazing how much birdlife is in your garden when you sit quietly. Look for small finches in the bushes, lorikeets in the trees and cockatoos flying by. If you live near bushland, you may also see a hawk up high, circling its prey. It is another example of experiencing the wonder of nature and to teach your kids to simply look and listen, to see what they discover.
10// Encourage your kids to smell the flowers - both literally and figuratively. The simple pleasures in life are in the garden and each time you go out in it, you will discover something new. Appreciate the blue sky, the beauty of a new flower bud, the breeze on your face and the sound of leaves blowing in the wind.
The best gift we can give our children is the magic of wonder. The garden, and the fairies that live in it, is the perfect place to find it.