During this stressful time, the outdoors is a healthy way to lift your spirits. Even a short walk around your neighborhood can boost your energy and attitude. We know many people across the country are adjusting to school shut downs and having their kids home all day – while juggling their career, and so much more. Gardening can be a great way to take a break, connect with your family and be a distraction from what is currently going on in the world.
Our team came up with some fun garden related activities that you can do with or without kids over the next few weeks. We are thinking of everyone and please stay healthy.
- Rainbow Project: Start a community project for kids that incorporates social distancing! We saw some towns, including one of our co-founder’s, asking children to draw a rainbow and place it in a window of their home. Encourage your neighbors to do the same (via a community Facebook page is a great way to start) and when you walk around the neighborhood you can do a rainbow hunt without being near others.
- Grow Inside: While it may be too early to plant outside in some areas, a fun kid friendly activity is to buy seeds, which can be ordered online at John Scheepers or Baker Seed Co, to plant inside in small containers. Plant the seeds in potting soil, which can also be ordered online or grabbed at the grocery store if you are running out. We recommend putting the potting soil in a small container, making an indent with a pencil and then dropping a few seeds in. Set it by a window and help your young one take care of it for the next few weeks until they start to sprout! She Knows has great step by step overview of indoor planting if you are looking for more instructions. At this time of year good seeds would be snow peas, anything in the cabbage family, and leafy greens. It’s a little too early to start some of the warm weather plants as they could grow too large before you have an opportunity to put them outside.
- Force Flowering Shrubs: For a little indoor sparkle cut flowering shrubs or trees and bring them inside. The warm environment will cause them to open much more quickly than their outdoor counterparts. Use pruners and a sturdy vase. Good trees/shrubs for forcing include: forsythia, flowering pear, flowering cherries, and magnolia.
- Cut Back Old Perennials: If you didn’t have a chance to fully cut back all your perennials before the cold weather hit, now is a great time to tackle them before any new shoots pop though. Cut all old leaves and stems to the ground UNLESS they are slightly woody and could still be alive. Not sure how to tell? Use your fingernail to scratch off the top layer of the branch and see if it’s green below. If it is, that shoot still has the ability to grow leaves when the weather warms. If you don’t find any green when you scratch or the shoot seems brown or brittle they are likely dead and can be trimmed away.
- Clear Your Beds: Kids love tasks! Have them clear leaves and debris that have built up in your garden beds this winter. Or have them pick up sticks throughout the yard to help tidy (keep them busy!!!). You can order compostable leaf bags online or your local hardware store will have them. We love supporting the local stores, especially at a time like this. Many local stores, if open, will even do curbside pick up or call ahead and request that.
- Edge Beds: A little definition goes a long way. Clearly designating where a planting bed stops and the lawn begins can make a big difference in the perceived cleanliness of a home. Take a spade shovel and push it straight down into the soil. Then gently pull back to loosen the earth piece by piece. This is a task for older kids or for an adult, but it makes a world of difference in the appearance of your yard.
- Art Project: Find a project that you can use in your outdoor space! The Make A Wind Chime kit on Amazon is $10.99 and will keep kids busy and add personality to your yard or patio.
- Painting Pine Cones: This isn’t necessarily helping the yard, but my kids found themselves occupied for hours hunting for pine cones and painting them outside. We now have colorful and happy pinecones in a bowl in the house and they love them. While they aren’t a forever centerpiece, they will work and bring joy for now!
We also have Tilly’s 5 minute tasks you can reference.
We understand this is a trying time and we are all in this together. We hope to help provide you with some fresh ideas and positivity over the next few weeks.
Please feel free to share other projects you have done with your kids!