There are plenty of fun projects you can get started with this summer. Get your kids interested in ecology by introducing them to gardening. Find creative ways to teach them about upcycling old household items, and zero waste ideology. Introduce local wildlife into your garden by putting out treats, or even digging a pond. Here are some eco-friendly ideas to keep you busy this summer.
Think of fun creative ways to get your kids interested in recycling like by upcycling household items to make cute decorations and ornaments. You can make window boxes from an old empty drawer or decorations out of plastic bottles. You could even make your own garden gnomes out of recycled materials such as a tin foil.
There are plenty of cute ideas online for inspiration involving simple household objects. Encourage your kids to make a scrapbook or online diary for example. They could make this out of photos and other things they find around the house. They can then share this with friends and family, even while they’re stuck at home.
Wine Bottle Butterfly Feeder
Kids love colouring in pictures of butterflies but why not teach them about the role they play in the eco-system as well? You can set up an upside-down wine bottle to make a feeder. Butterflies and small birds love sugar, so all you need to put inside is a sponge soaked in sugar water. See the full tutorial here. You can decorate the bottle together as well.
This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of recycling. Explain how easy it is to find a use for everything. They’ll probably have more ideas than you for your next week’s rubbish.
Old eggboxes make a perfect paintbox. Fill them with different coloured paints and get your kids to get creative this summer. There are plenty of fun ideas online if you need inspiration. Tate Kids has loads of fun interactive activities online. You can draw your own fairy tale, or even make a painting out of chocolate.
Instead of tossing out your eggshells why not turn them into mini-planters? They’re perfect for kids who want to try out growing something small. Put a little soil in the bottom and add herb seeds or smaller flowers for little pots.
Young kids tend to have a shorter attention span, so it might be a good idea to get some summer seeds that will grow quickly. Some examples include salad, cress, and sunflowers. You can start them off by the kitchen window so to get them interested early, then move them outside. Here are some more tips on how to get your seeds started on your window sill.
Grow your own greens
Homegrown organic salad leaves are way nicer than the ones you buy in the shop. They’re full of taste, texture, and goodness. Liven up your mealtimes with these easy-to-grow leaves. You can opt for individual varieties, or create a fun mix. The great thing is you can grow them all together without any problems. Try a combination of lettuce, mustard, kale, and rocket. You can buy all the seeds online.
For the quickest results sow the seeds very thinly, in shallow holes about 6-10 inches apart. Water and keep the soil moist. Make sure they get some shade during the day, so place the pot in a cooler area of your garden. This will ensure quick, healthy growth. You should be able to harvest them in just 21 days. You can find more advice online on speedy salads for small gardens.
Meet the Local Wildlife
Make your own bird-feeder out of recycled materials such as a plastic bottle. Birds eat a range of different things you can find in your kitchens such as granola, apples, bananas, eggshells, and cooked pasta and rice. You can get rid of your organic waste while giving them a tasty treat. For more information and any bird-related needs check out Little Peckers.
By letting your grass grow longer and planting “climbers” such as roses, you will encourage more wildlife and insects as they will have a more secluded place to live. This will help you to maintain your own healthy micro-eco-system. For more information on how to build a wildlife-friendly garden, see here.
Dig a Pond
A pond is a fantastic feature if you have space. It adds a touch of elegance and character. Digging in a pond will make a nice home to host your amphibian visitors. It’s not too difficult to do, just make sure there are stones and branches surrounding it so that the animals can get in and out. Be sure to add water lilies and other plants to keep it fresh and inviting.
It takes a day on average to dig out a pond. One thing to think about, however, is what you will do with the loose soil afterward. Many people plan to use this topsoil for their trees and flower beds. Make sure you have an idea of what to do with it before you start. See here for more garden pond building tips.
If you’re planning to plant some trees, you’ll need to take into account root health, weather, soil conditions, and aftercare. This is a great time of year to plant trees as spring to early summer has more appropriate conditions. Some trees are easier to plant than others, for a selection of trees to look at, start here.
You might even need to get rid of any old tree stumps, or unwanted roots getting in the way. Sometimes trees can actually be quite dangerous so it’s a good idea to have them removed to make way for new ones. Trees are a great long-term project and it’s incredibly satisfying watching them grow over the years.
After spending almost the whole summer in the garden, you’ll find it’s not only educational but also very therapeutic. You’ll have some fantastic souvenirs to keep as well.