Monday, 17 March 2014

Garden flower fun for the Children!

For quite some time now I have been thinking of ways to create a fun area in our garden for Chester and Millie. I don't mean a play area as they have that, I mean an area of the garden that they can call their own. Plant flowers, learn about wildlife and have fun whilst doing it!

Both of the children LOVE being outdoors, they love creating adventures, finding bugs and spotting other interesting wildlife. So it was especially important that we created an area that can be used all year round. 

Then I came across Tots100 latest Center Parcs challenge - Painting flowers. Reading through the entry details I read this tip from Emma Hull (Center Parcs very own creative crafter).. 

"If you'd like to paint in your garden, or any other outside space, remember to take something to lean on as well as a pot of water for you to wash your paintbrushes in"
Now I know that what she meant was - get your easel out and draw/paint your garden flowers. However it made me think outside the box a little, and I immediately knew that painting an object in our garden could be just the kind of idea I was looking for to make the children's gardening corner fun! 
So 'This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 March challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest' please.
We have a corner in our garden behind our garage, that is a wasted space. It's not big enough to build a shed, but it's not small enough to be ignored. But sadly for the last 7 years we have done exactly that, ignored it. Used it as a dumping ground, see... 

I know, awful isn't it?! So last week I made it my mission to clear this area and transform it into the fun gardening area for the children. Whilst clearing I put aside an old wooden sandbox, a plank of wood and some broken up concrete patio slabs to recycle and use for our project. The children had great fun helping me dig up and move the dirt and weeds! We found lots of bugs and worms, which Chester temporarily housed (as many as he could) in his bug box until we had finished! 
On Sunday, Craig's day off, we went to our local farm shop to get some bark and compost. Chester and Millie helped choose some pretty flowers to plant too. On the way home we stopped off at a DIY store and got a tester pot of masionory paint. We chose a nice light green colour, then we got a couple of bright coloured tester pots as well. 

By this point, Chester and Millie were really over excited! They couldn't wait to get stuck in! 
Their first job was to wash the patio slabs...

Then they helped daddy spread the bark...

Once the patio slabs were dry, I painted them green, when they were dry Chester and Millie helped me paint flowers on them! As it's their part of the garden I wanted them to do as much of it as possible. As they are only 5 and 2 I thought it would be easy to stamp the flower design on. So I cut out an old sponge in the shape of a flower and let them paint stamp away...

Chester really wanted to use a paint brush too, so with my help he managed to paint these..

We used the old sand box as a planter, lined it with some more spare pieces of patio slab, then filled with compost and let Chester and Millie help plant the flowers they had chosen. The idea here will be to plant new flowers each season. 

We placed the patio slabs in the bark area and renamed them stepping stones! 
We have a few of final touches to add to make it perfect, I would like to put up a bird house that Chester painted a couple of years ago. Chester and Millie have some small pots and some little ornaments that they would like to use, and I would also like to recycle an old board I have to make a chalk board to attach to the garage wall. 
But I think the flower stepping stones totally make it fun and child friendly, what do you think?!

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