It’s a little bit scary when the vacation starts to loom. You just know you have to think of ways to keep the kids occupied over the coming weeks. Especially ones that will get them out in the fresh air away from computer screens. But never fear, with a little planning and some clever outdoor craft ideas, you can not only get the kids involved and creative, but you can also spruce up your garden at the same time.
The key is to prepare your materials and tools in advance, making sure the project is within the skill level of your children, and having a clear idea for the outcome. For instance a very attractive project that any child could do is to paint pebbles for filling in cracks between paving stones. Use luminous glow-in-the-dark paint for an amazing night time look.
Another painting activity that children love is decorating glass using special glass paint. Obviously you need to carefully supervise the process for safety reasons, but kids will love transforming simple glass jars into beautiful tea light holders, or even adding colour to the latest big thing – garden mirrors!
If you prefer slightly safer and less messier projects that will still add colour and style to your garden, then get the kids working on some bunting. They can dye or paint fabric and use PVA glue to attach to string or ribbon. Alternatively why not make some outdoor mobiles from whatever you have to hand? Suitable materials include old keys (from that collection you always intended to clear out sometime), CDs no longer needed, or natural objects such as pine cones, bamboo pieces or sea shells. All of these will also provide gently soothing sound when the wind is right.
Garden furniture is also definitely worth including in your projects. Old patio tables can often be upcycled with simple plywood to become a table tennis surface, or converted into ‘steps’ to act as a stand for plant pots. Or why not split an old bench into suitably sized blocks suspended from a frame to act as a giant xylophone? Make it even more attractive by colour coding the notes.
If all of this outdoor sprucing means you end up needing to pick up new garden furniture from places like Tesco, then take the opportunity to get the kids involved in that too. Let them help you choose – even make the trip to buy your new furniture a family day out, and definitely get them to help you make new cushions!
So all you need is some imagination, a few inexpensive materials, the right weather. And obviously ice cream, as a treat for all that effort.