Inclusive activities: In and out in June

by NicciLouise

Whether you and the children you know enjoy being in the garden, growing things in doors or making a mess you will find something in this article for you.

Gardening

Growing things is a great fun learning experience for children who start to understand the essential requirements of light, warmth and water alongside the beginnings of an understanding about where plants and trees come from. [1]

The Secret Garden

For the garden or window ledgewhen outside don’t forget your sun hats and sun screen!

Successive planting of lettuces and radishes will keep you in salad all summer, so it is not too late to sow some seeds.  Having perhaps already filled your garden with vegetables  earlier in the year now is the time to plant hanging baskets, window boxes and any other decorative containers [2].

You can buy soil and plants and get advice on the best flowers at your local garden centre. Don’t forget to put some baskets on the floor and some on tables or upturned large flower pots, so that they are at the right height for everyone to help. Even the youngest child can enjoy burying their hands in the soft soil, or placing pebbles in the ledge boxes  to help the drainage.

Hanging baskets in Thornbury, South Gloucester...

For hanging baskets don’t forget to ask at the garden centre about the products that can be added to retain the moisture of the soil. The main problem is that they can dry out quickly so why not give an older child the job of watering them every day?

For inside or out

You could even make a miniature garden with a large pot. All you need to do is push some attractive rocks into the compost, make holes for plants [1] and put them in covering them gently with soil. You will need to ensure that eager hands don’t damage the roots by being too rough.

You can even bury a shallow dish up to its edges and fill it with water to make a pond! Why not add gravel, sticks and moss to build up the scene? You can even make a volcano with an up turned fibre plant pot, a bit of red paint and maybe even some cotton wool as smoke for the top [1]. If you have a child who like dinosaurs or plastic animals I am sure they would love to add them to the garden too!

Planting inside

pet plant

Herbs make good little pot plants and are easy to grow. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, dill, basil, mint and coriander will make a good cheap display that is lovely to look at and sweet-smelling [2]. Be warned though the dill did take over our display the first year we did it and as a herb it is not used very much, except perhaps on the odd fish dish.

Getting Arty

Making a plant pot wind chime decoration

All you need is a terracotta plant pot 12cm in diameter; four 15cm sticks and a short 5cm stick; a meter of thick string and the same measurement of thin string as well as all-purpose clear glue [1].

Flowerpots

The first step is to paint the pots and sticks in any design your children like [1]. The little stick doesn’t need painting as this will be held in the pot horizontally in order for the string to be attached.

The thick string needs to be folded in half and then tied in a knot half way down to make a loop in one end. This is where the short stick should be placed before a second knot is made to hold it in place. The loop is then thread through the plant pot from the inside before a small blob of glue is added to the stick to hold it in place [1].

English: Wind chime close-up

The remaining sticks can be attached to small sections of thin thread whose ends can be stuck inside the plant pot [1] so that most of the sticks hang down with a small portion left inside. The thin thread should not be seen when the wind chime is hanging from the large loop from a branch in your garden!

Large scale painting and printing

(To read about the importance of messy play please see the article ‘messy play and moon sand in the section on inclusive activities in the side bar)

 Painting and drawing are activities that bring out the best in young children. It boosts their creative skills and encourages them to use their imagination while fostering a sense of pride in what they have done [1].

When summer actually arrives and the ground is dry why not place large pieces of paper on the ground for the children to paint on? Old clothes are essential and so are bare arms and lower legs for hand and feet painting. Wheelchairs can also make tracks across the paper in different colours and other children can join in by copying thse marks using pieces of string dipped in paint.

Finger painting.

The children can make more intricate patterns with carrot tops or cotton reels. If they are struggling to get an even amount of paint on the item they wish to use then why not cover a sponge with paint and allow them to press said item into the  sponge instead?[1]

Bubble printing is messy and so perfect to also do outside. Mix powder paints and add just a drop of washing up liquid to each. The children can then use it to blow bubbles with straws. Can they make lots of little bubbles? Can they make large bubbles? Can they capture an imprint of the bubbles on the paper before they disapear on a breeze by touching the straw against the paper with just the right amount of pressure? [1]

I hope you enjoyed these fun ideas for things to do with the children as the weather gets finer. If the rain holds on for a while longer then don’t forget the article in inclusive activities on what to do in the wind and rain. Have fun

References

1) Pacey (NCMA) (2012-2013) magazines. editor Howard freeman The childcare professional PACEY http://www.pacey.org.uk

2) Santer, I (2009) Green fingers and muddy boots: A year in the garden for children and families, Edinburgh: Florris books

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