Backyard Fun With Kids and Plants
Backyard Fun With Kids and Plants
The Cape beaches are great for children, but there are times when it’s even better to be able to make our fun in our own backyards. There are several ways to have a #gardengetaway with kids; here are some suggestions for projects that children and adults enjoy.
Plant fall crops in the vegetable garden.
It’s time to plant fall crops where you summer vegetables have finished. Carrots, beets, chard, radishes, and kale can all be planted now from seed.
Float flowers in a fresh mandala.
Fill a pot without holes in the bottom, or large non-breakable bowls, with fresh water. Gather assorted flowers and colorful leaves to create designs that float on top of the water. Some people like to make these symmetrical and circular, similar to a mandala. Others go for abstract and free-floating designs. Hint: give each child their own container so that everyone can make the design that pleases them most.
Make stick houses, for the kids, imaginary friends or nature spirits.
Gather sticks and even some vines to create shelters and club houses. Bittersweet vine is a good one to use, but be sure to avoid poison ivy, which often grows in the same places. (Examine any wooded areas carefully for poison ivy before you let the children hunt for sticks.) You can put longer branches together teepee style, and either cover the outside with freshly cut branches with leaves, or with cloth. Next spring, plant moonflower vines on such twig teepees for living coverage.
Create Flower Art
If you have flowers, you have the equivalent of a new box of crayons! Pick flowers, or let the kids loose in your garden to gather them. Don’t worry about the stems – just cut off the blossoms and gather in a basket. (By the way…if you have annuals such as dahlias, zinnias and marigolds, this will make them produce more flowers into the fall.) These flowers can be used to decorate outdoor furniture, or create designs on decks or the lawn.
Give away bouquets
Cut random flowers from your garden and make fresh bouquets in glass bottles and jars. Deliver a bouquet to a neighbor, family member or friend who needs a smile. Better yet, give them to random checkout clerks in stores, bankers, or librarians. A fresh bouquet, given for no reason at all, is truly a random act of kindness.
Take the leaf stack challenge
Take the Plantrama #leafstackchallenge! Collect a variety of leaves in assorted sizes and colors and stack them in a way that’s pleasing to you. Some families make this into a competition, where everyone creates a leaf stack. Take photos and post them with the hashtag, or have them printed on a calendar, coffee mugs or plates. These days you can have a photo printed on practically anything. If that is your intention, pass out blank white paper or cardboard and have everyone make their leaf stack on that plain background. If you make leafstacks during a family gathering or party, you might consider putting them all in a book for those who participated as a way to remember the day.
Plant a pumpkin head
Fall is just around the corner. As I gaze at a rack of dracaena “spikes” that are on sale at the end of the summer, I’m thinking that they’d be perfect for “hair” when planted in a pumpkin. Other plants can be used for living pumpkin head hair as well.
Whenever you spend time in the yard and garden, be tick smart! Learn to protect yourself from tick bites and always examine kids after they’ve been outdoors. Read more about ticks and prevention here.
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