Children introduced to the garden will receive life-long skills that will carry them through their life.
When revamping a garden or starting a new garden having areas for your children to express their creativity and imagination is great for their personal development, physically and socially.
When space and finances allow there is a lot of outdoor play equipment that can be purchased that will guarantee fun and most importantly exercise. Sand pits, swings, ropes, cubby houses, trampolines, scooters, bicycles......and so on. Choices are dependant upon the space available, the children's age as well as safety.
Blackboards and easels for drawing, a potting bench or a work bench for little mechanics and for making craft. Flower collecting for study, pressing or arranging. Craft ideas are limitless, (with the weather permiting and the clean up is easier outdoors). Easter time is always fun for egg hunts.
On warm days water activities can provide hours of fun and entertainment for everyone. Safety guidelines apply to all pools big or small, but there are many other water activities for the home garden such as water slides and sprinklers that don't need fencing and may have the added benefit of watering the lawn at the same time!
Most children are fascinated by insects and creepy crawlies but some are not. However learning about recycling waste by keeping a worm farm can be great and educational. The bonus is that you use your vegetable waste in a productive manner resulting in great worm juice for your plants.
Worm farms and worms are available in store.
Pets and animals
Small children need supervision with animals to prevent injury to themselves and to their pet.
Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, caged birds and chickens all enjoy the backyard. Children learn about our responsiblity for animals through feeding and maintenance of their pets. Chickens are easy to care for and are productive, after the fun of collecting the eggs making a recipe from the eggs will be exciting!
Favourite games for everyone include hide and seek, tiggy, ball games, skipping, hop scotch and hula hoops. Game ideas are only limited by the children's and your imaginations.
Plants for fun
Growing edible plants that can be easily reached by children in the garden is a fun way to learn about what plants can be eaten and collecting them for cooking will have children involved in the kitchen.
Planting large seeds such as beans and peas for small children will fascinate them as they see them sprout. Plants in punnets are easy to plant and children can see the root system of the plant.
Children can be involved in pulling weeds, fertilising the soil, getting rid of bugs, digging holes and watering, it's all fun!
Garden chimes, whirly-gigs, flowers, watching clouds, dress-ups, bubbles, balloons, gerry-rigged tents over a couple of out-door chairs and with the wonderful imagination and energy children have they can pretend to be whatever they want from fairies to dragons, cowboys to spacemen and pirates to monster slayers. Make believe is only limited by their imagination and perhaps a few ideas from parents.
Todays world is full of electronic games and technology that can take children away from the real world and nature. With perhaps both parents working, child obesity, television, DVD's etc, now is the time children need more encouragement to play outside and be active.
Finding spare time where as a family the outdoors is part of daily life will be of great benefit for all. An adventure area, a shady tree, a vegetable garden, a couple of chickens and a bit of space to run around and dream in...is what we all need.
Favourites for children on the run in the garden are strawberries, cherry tomatoes (yellow and red) cucumbers, pepinos, bananas, peas, beans and corn. Panama berries are sweet (the tree grows to 5-7m, is short lived and makes a perfect shade tree for little ones). The cape gooseberry is an old time favourite, it is a small hardy shrub, enjoys ordinary soil and its lovely little yellow fruit is encased in a papery pod, unwrapping the fruit is half the fun!
You don't need to spend a lot on play equipment for your children to have fun!
When considering a garden for children there are a few fun ideas to keep in mind, and even if there is no garden at all these ideas can still be put into action.
Colour your garden
Colour in the garden can be provided by fast growing annuals such as petunias, sundews and pansies. Hibiscus put on an impressive show for flowers and native trees and shrubs such as grevilleas and bottle brush are hardy, prolific flowerers and will bring a diverse range of nectar feeding birds into the garden.
Introduce your children to the natural world in the safety of your own home, and they will look back on their childhood memories with fondness of their time in the front and backyard.