With the winter weather well and truly here, getting the kids out and about can be a tough task. But coaxing your kids into the backyard is a great way to keep them occupied over the school holidays and, with a little creativity, they may just bring some life back to your little patch of green. Try these handy tips from the team at Vegecation Melbourne to get your kids excited about your garden this winter.
1) Get Farming: Building a worm farm not only appeals to kids’ innate love of all things dirty, it is also a great way to introduce them to the concept of composting. You can use an old drawer, plastic tub or wooden planter with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage as your base. Set it up in a corner of your garden that is protected from the elements and fill with shredded newspaper, cardboard and soil and moisten with water. Bury a few fruit scraps and tea bags among the shredded paper and then add your worms. Cover with a lid or blanket to provide shelter and remember to add food scraps every so often to maintain food levels for your new squirmy pets.
2) Build a kitchen planter: Make a start on a kitchen garden by planting herbs in a window sill planter. Coriander, basil and lemongrass are great introductory herbs. You can even build the planter from scrap wood pieces and have the kids decorate it with paint for extra colour.
3) Get back to Grass Roots: Remember Chia pets? Why not make them at home for a fun little afternoon project that you can watch grow throughout the winter. They are easy to create: Simply add a sprinkling of grass seeds to the toe of an old stocking or sock and fill with soil. Tie the ends of the sock together with an elastic band and get creative drawing a face on your soon-to-be-hairy friend. Place the base in a basin of water somewhere where it will receive sunlight and watch those follicles grow!
4) Feed the birds: Encourage a menagerie into your garden by hanging edible decorations from your trees. Thread popcorn on a long string, roll lightly in peanut butter and then sprinkle with bird seed. String the popcorn up among the branches of your trees and those hungry birds will come visiting in no time.
5) Watch it! Create a bird-watching journal to keep track of the different kinds of birds that visit your newly winterfied garden. Kids can take note of the sizes and shapes of the birds, identify breeds and listen out for their bird calls. Or you can keep a gardening journal just like dirtgirl, recording all your green thumb adventures.
It may be cold out, but Melbourne’s backyard beasts will be warm as toast this July when Centro Box Hill opens the gates to a Vegecation Winter Wonderland this school holidays. Come join us as we explore the fun to be had in your backyard during the colder months, and take home your very own winter seedling to grow in your backyard.
VEGECATION MELBOURNE EVENT INFORMATION
What: Vegecation – a fun and engaging community school holiday activity
Where: Centro Box Hill North Precinct (opposite the food court)
When: 9 – 13 July 2012
What time: 11am to 2pm each day, interactive play times: 11.30am and 1pm
Who: Aimed at children aged six – 15 and their families
Price: FREE to attend. Every child receives a free apron to take home