Keep the kids out in the fresh air this summer with these great outdoor activity ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Build a sandpit
Do-you-wanna-build-a-sandpit? If you’re one of those parents being driven crazy by the Frozen epidemic, you might want to take a break from the animated world of snowmen and ice queens and help your kids build an old-fashioned sandpit. It’s like going to the beach, without facing the endless car park rage.
To build your sandpit, first you have to find the best location. The sandpit shouldn’t be exposed to full sunlight, so the best location is half in sunlight and half shaded. Then you need to mark out the perimeter of the sandpit with small posts and string. Dig out around the edges with a spade and then finish digging out the whole area to a depth of around 20 cm.Make sure the bottom of the sandpit is flat, and remove any roots and stones with a shovel. Line the dug-out area with ant-root membrane. You’ll need planks to build the walls and you’ll want to also build a cover for the sandpit to keep dogs, cats and garden debris out.
Create a slip-and-slide
Is there anything better than a slip-and-slide? The answer is no, no there is not. To make your own just head to your nearest all-purpose hardware store, and buy a plastic sheeting roll. Then you just need to pick the best place to put it. In this case on a hill or slope is the best option, because gravity is your friend. However, a flat surface will work too, you’ll just need to do an extra long run-up. Make sure you weigh it down with anything that won’t hurt if you hit it while sliding. Sandbags are often the way to go, though you could also use water balloons — just don’t expect them to stay put for very long. Use a hose to thoroughly soak the plastic and add in some bubbles for some extra fun. You’re now ready to slide.
Grow your own herbs
Gardening is a great activity for kids, even if it does require a little bit of patience! You also don’t need a lot of space to pull it off, you just need a bit of rich soil in your yard, a place to keep pots on a balcony, a sunny windowsill or even a raised veggie patch. Plant your herbs in free-draining soil and if your herbs are in pots make sure they have plenty of drainage holes.Don’t forget to mulch around your plants to help retain moisture and discourage snails and grubs. Most herbs grow well without additional fertilisers especially if the soil prior to planting has been improved with compost or organic matter. It’s also a great idea to get the kids to make labels for their herbs, they can let their creative energy run wild and it gives the garden a little extra color before the plants start to show.
Make a bird feeder
Want to enthrall your kids with nature by attracting some native birds to your backyard? The best way to go about this is to create a bird feeder and the best news is all you need is recycled items and other bits and pieces you’ll find lying around the house. Plastic drinks bottles, yoghurt pots or milk cartons make great foundations for bird feeders, just make sure they’re clean before you use them. You’ll also need wire or string, bird seed and scissors. To start, cut a hole in the side large enough to allow a free flow of seeds, but in such a way that it won’t all fall out on the ground in the slightest touch of wind. Then, make a few small holes in the bottom of the feeder to allow any rainwater to drain away. Hang it with wire, or even strong string from a tree or your washing line. Then just wait for the birds to drop by and pay you a visit.
Make your own water wall
What is a water wall, you ask? Well it’s actually what it sounds like, a wall dedicated to water play. To create your own water wall find a large piece of wood, or even a chair, a bench or an old door. Anything that will sit safely upright on the grass and not fall over when the kids are playing around it. Then it’s time to hit the recycling bin for objects to attach to your wall. Bottles, containers or even bits of old hose work well and can be attached to the wall. Then it’s all about letting the kids tip the water through the containers and hopefully get splashed a few times in the process to keep them cool.
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