It’s National Children’s Day UK and here at Our Flower Patch we couldn’t be happier as this year the focus is on swopping screen time for wild time, getting children out of doors – whatever the weather and connecting with nature. Of course, for our members every day is about encouraging children into the outdoors, learning about nature and having fun.
Here’s a top ten of things to do today, even if it’s wild and blustery as it is in Wiltshire – the kind of things that Our Flower Patch members do every day whilst tending their patches. Parents and teachers, take note! This is about kids doing it for themselves, taking risks and making decisions. Let them get on with it and be led by them.
- Plant a flower seed – All you need is an old salad or grape container and some toilet roll inners, a bit of compost and a few seeds. You could try sunflowers but I like cosmos or calendula as you’ll have lots of flowers from one seed. Plant one seed in each tube. Once your seedlings are big enough you can plant the whole tube in the ground.
- Build a frog a home – We love frogs as they help keep slugs away from our young flower plants. A couple of old broken crocks in a damp, shady corner of your garden will work but you could trawl the internet for ideas for a frog palace. It’ll give you a screentime fix before switching off for good today.
- Eat your lunch out of doors – Food is always tastier eaten outside. You might be better off with a hunk of cake and a flask of hot chocolate today but in a few weeks you could be eating a full picnic with homemade lemonade in your very own den.
- Go on a slug hunt – Useful as well as fun. Look in damp, shady places, under stones and bits of wood.Keep slugs away from your plants. Build them a home somewhere well away from your seedlings in an upturned grapefruit half with a few lettuce leaves to keep them happy. Check regularly to make sure they stay away from your plants. (You may need to relocate stubborn slugs to your green recycling bin!)
- Visit a bluebell wood – It’s a perfect time of year for walking through a beautiful blue carpet of woodland flowers. They don’t last long which makes them so special.
- Learn to identify the songs of three garden birds – We love listening to the birds whilst working on our patch but it’s nice to know who is singing to us. This is a good place to start.
- Identify a wild flower – My favourite of the moment is cow parsley, as it looks so lovely in a vase with but there’s plenty of blue alkanet and wild garlic nearby. See if you can find any near your house.
- Fly a kite – There’s certainly plenty of wind around today. You could even make your own.
- Pull up some weeds – Weeding can be a bit of a chore but if you do a short burst of ‘speed weeding’ regularly, it’s fun. Learning to identify the weeds in your patch will tell you a lot about your soil and not all weeds are bad. You can do a lot with nettles, for instance and dandelions.
- Build a den – You can build a den from almost anything but why not find a space where you can build a natural den from climbing beans, sweet peas or even sunflowers. We use hazel poles for the plants to climb up. It won’t look like a den yet but it’ll be a great place to go in the summer holidays.
Happy National Children’s Day UK 2014! Go on. Get wet and muddy today. Learn new things. Give nature a helping hand, and have fun!