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10 Summer garden activities with the grandkids


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

10 Summer garden activities with the grandkids
The summer holidays means 6 weeks of finding fun-filled activities for the kids. If you end up babysitting the little darlings while their parents are at work, here are some cheap and imaginative garden activities to make summer great.

Make a bird house

Painted birdhouses
Start by giving your grandchild some paper and pens to design their own. If you have DIY skills and a bit of imagination you can realise their dream bird house, and the wee one can help along the way.
If not, there are plenty of ready built birdhouses you can buy and paint from £19.99

Give them a piece of your garden

Childen playing in a container garden
Teach your little monsters how to grow flowers. You could build a rockery together, or plant some bedding flowers, or you can even have a sunflower race—see who can grow the tallest.
Make it clear to them that this is their patch and keep them engaged by measuring growth, counting flowers, drawing or taking photos, in a garden journal.

Play garden bingo

If your garden has a lot going on you could build a chart of wildlife, flowers and leaves. Give your grandchild(ren) a card, and tell them when they've found everything on the card they can have a reward.
This game could be easy or difficult. You could build it around things you know to be in your garden every day. Or, you could make it more tricky with some lesser spotted wildlife, or include a picture of that flower that could bloom any day now.

Garden knowledge treasure hunt

On a treasure hunt
Use descriptive instructions to find plants, habitats, and tools around the garden. Each clue leads to another concealed clue.
You can really test their knowledge and your imagination here, for a rose you might say "I'm red, a symbol of love, be careful when you touch" or "A ________ by any other name would smell as sweet". Just don't forget to leave something fun at the end as a reward.
Perhaps they can collect items, such as a pirates hat, and tools along the way to help them dig up an actual treasure at the end of the quest.
Alternatively, you can task them with finding specific leaves and photograph 'rare' flowers and birds, and can be rewarded once all activities have been completed.

Make an insect hotel

Insect hotel
Creepy-crawlies might not immediately sound like a fun idea, but a lot can be learned from watching them and identifying them. Who knows, when the little dudes grow older they might not fear the multi-legged minions.
Building your own can take a few days with a little help from a little person or you can build a much more simple version. Larger ones can accommodate much more than insects too. You could include layers for birds and hedgehogs. 
If you're not into the building aspect, or can't acquire all the necessary bits, you can buy ready-made insect habitats from £19.99 right up to £189.99 and even beyond—clearly luxury dwellings for those well-to-do bugs. 

Save the bees!

Bee on flower
You can teach children a really important lesson about how reliant we are on nature through teaching them all about bees. Start with these three handy facts:
  • Did you know that bees keep us alive through pollinating plants? One-third of our global food supply is reliant on bees
  • Did you know that bees can recognise human faces, so if you look after them really well you will not go
  • Did you know that a bee's wings beat 190 times a second—that's 11,400 times a minute
We all know that it's important to save the bees, so you can start your own bee home and make sure they are looked after.
Then together you and your grandchild(ren) can keep a fact sheet and challenge each other to find new facts, and note down any observations.

Start a photo journal

Photographing the garden
The garden is full of wildlife, from little tiny bugs to plants and flowers to granddad. Teach your little nipper how to use a camera, and look out for special things and moments to capture.
Smartphones have made photography super-accessible, but the temptation to open Angry Birds is never far away. Why not purchase some disposable film cameras, or dig out your old film camera and also teach some good old-fashioned delayed gratification!
Once the film is developed, you can build a journal and help your grandchild identify some of the flowers, bugs, and birds they've photographed. Or set creative writing tasks around the image. Perhaps you can stick the photo onto a page and encourage them to extend it by drawing an imaginative scene. 

Press flowers

It's a classic tradition loved by children and adults of all ages and genders.
Together you can pick flowers and leaves, lay them between tow pieces of card, and place them in between the pages of at thick book, then place this under the mattress for as long as you can.
Once the flowers are pressed you can have fun with some spray mount making pictures and bookmarks, or arranging in a photo frame.

Make night lights

Save up those old jam jars for this one. You can have loads of fun with different types of night lights. One straight-forward technique you can simply decorate the jamjars, make handles and filled with sand. 
Or you can create a cool textured effect by gluing tissue paper to the outside of the jam jar.
If you really want to show off, you can purchase some glowsticks and mix with water then pop the lid back on the jar. This gives a real luminous effect that the kids will adore.
Be careful as both fire and glowsticks can be dangerous! Make the wee-ones are responsible and sensible.

Plan a barbecue for the evening

Kids having a barbecue
You can have a lot of fun both lanning and preparing a barbecue for the evening. The day can be spent marinating meats or preparing skewers, mixing salads and baking breads. You can decorate the outdoor area, make bunting, hang fairy lights and make nightlights.
You can even make a music playlist together for ambience. You could even make a joint treasure hunt for the guests in the evening. Have the camera ready for some fun memories!

Bonus activity for those super-hot days...

Get the water sprinkler out! Providing there isn't a drought, and a hose pipe ban, you can have loads of fun in the late afternoon facilitating a water fight and getting your lawn watered too.