It always seems like spring comes in such a rush and flurry of excitement and activity- after all, gardens need prep work and planning and seeding. The work is exhilarating after the long winter, and it is so easy to get caught up on all the hopes, dreams and plans for our gardens.
But then comes the moment when our kids ask, “How long?”:
“How long til the garden grows?”
“Will we ever be able to pick something?”
“How long til things get exciting again?”
This season of waiting and practicing garden patience can be hard on all of us, especially our youngest gardeners. But even this season of waiting can be a source of great joy and fun in the garden.
Here are our favourite top 5 fun things to do in the garden that are not just all about gardening! (They keep us involved and interested in the garden when there isn’t that much to eat, pick, or even weed.)
1.Board Games in the Garden
It seemed so strange, the first time I ever brought the board games outside and into the garden. I envisioned lost game pieces and upended board games hanging off plants. And although we have definitely suffered some lost game pieces, the joy that board games bring to the garden is worth more than any lost game pieces. For the second year in a row, board game day in the garden are among the most favourite days of all the young gardeners in our kid’s gardening club. A blanket, a bench, or even the sidewalk alongside a garden - it doesn’t matter as long as the board games mix and match with the plants. Our favourite game in the garden? All of them.
2. Garden Art
There is so much opportunity for art and crafty projects in and around the garden. All you really need is a simple notebook and pencil to get your family started. Sketching, shadow drawing, leaf rubbings are a great start, or get more advanced with nature weaving, painting, leaf prints with paint, nature sculptures and so much more. The list is never ending and the time spent creating masterpieces in the garden is priceless.
Your child thinks the garden is boring? They think they know everything there is to know and have seen everything there is to see? Prove them wrong with a very easy, very personalized “your garden” scavenger hunt. Although this does require a little bit of setup on your part, it is well worth the b your phone or camera and head out to the garden at a time when your little gardener is not with you. Take extremely closeup photos of flowers, flower buds, leaves or tree branches that are in and around your garden. Look in places no one usually looks and from angles that require intention. Print out the photos and challenge your child to find their source. For even more complexity, print those images out in black and white.
4.Flower Bouquet Foraging
Spring and early summer may find a lot of blooms and blossoms on your garden, or, in a cold spring like this, blooms may be harder to find. But that shouldn’t stop you and your child from finding a great late spring bouquet. Look for the unusual and often overlooked. Is that weed flowering and going to seed (think garlic mustard or dandelions)? Or do you have some lovely greens from a bush or fern? Often the most unexpected combinations can make for a joyful foraged garden flower bouquet.
A visit to the thrift store will undoubtedly help you find a beautiful tablecloth and some pretty China that are just waiting for their chance to make a tea party special! Set up a table and chairs right in the middle of the action - as close to the plants as you can get. Pour the tea and while the early summer afternoon away with tea and biscuits. If your garden has mint, lemon balm, or other early growing herbs, your garden tea party can even be harvested from your very own garden! Grab a great read-aloud, or some great afternoon garden kind of music and you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic summer afternoon.
What sorts of activities do you enjoy in your garden space while waiting for it to grow?