Schools out for the summer (I hope you sang that in your head) and the kids are back at the house. Now rather then let them wear out your couch or wear on your nerves, push them out the back door and into the garden. The outdoors are where summers should be spent and if you can’t get to the park to hike the trails or the neighborhood pool to splash around, your backyard garden can still keep the kids entertained for days on end.
Murphy loves his pink trowel and helping mom dig in the strawberry planters. Get your kiddos involved with the gardening at an early age and it might not be too hard to convince them to help pull weeds when they’re older. Let your mini-gardener pick out some seeds or small plants and have their own “garden patch” in the yard. Even if it’s just one small container, this little plot of land will keep a tiny horticulturalist busy for a few minutes each day. And if you’re looking to get more out of your live-in garden staff, weeding, watering, and flower picking are little hand-specialites. When I was little, my dad paid a nickel for each dandelion pulled, but only if the root was attached!
You don’t need a swimming pool or lake front property to keep the kids cool and entertained. Simple water features turn into wide rivers and oceans for tiny boats and plastic mermaids. All you need is a little sunshine, a garden hose and a lot of imagination. Tonka truck car washes and sand toys in water tubs were always a big hit back when this landscape blogger was a nanny of three.
From the tiniest of tots to the hard-to-please pre-teens, anyone can be a nature explorer. Instead of pushing the kids out the door to “go play”, give them a challenge to keep them focused. Identifying flowers in the bedding, counting varieties of trees in the backyard, comparing and contrasting soil types from around the neighborhood; turn your backyard into days worth of science experiments! Keep your nature explorer’s interest with a new notebook and pencil to record their findings. Let them take pictures of what they find and present their data at dinner. Sounds semi-nerdy but anything with a new notebook is always a crowd pleaser.
The abundance of nature inspired crafts online is incredible. You could be up to your eyeballs in acorn art alone by the end of July! Have your petite Picasso gather “art supplies” from the backyard bedding and then they’ll get to work taking nature’s art and making it their own. For a bigger family twist, have each child gather supplies and then swap stashes with a sibling. Not a fan of the kids pruning off all your hard work? Instead of using what’s growing in your yard as supplies, use it as inspiration. Have your kiddo draw or paint a landscape of your landscape and then frame it in your house from the same view point.
Now these are are just a few ways to keep your little ones entertained outdoors; honestly the possibilities are endless! But a love of the outdoors is an invaluable gift you can give your child. With all the fun they’ll have, good luck getting your new nature-aficionados back inside for dinner.
*Props to Murphy, Owen, Emry and Avalee for being adorable and props to their Purple Polo Parents for instilling in them a love of the outdoors!
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