10 Best Winter Gardening Activities For Kids
Gardening can take a back seat in Winter. Nothing much grows, the ground is too wet or frozen to dig and it’s too cold.
But if you look beyond the sofa, blanket and hot chocolate shouting your name and get outdoors, there is so many things you could do to get a head start for the growing season and have tons of fun too
In the Winter, my small home is over run with children of all ages thanks to my day care kids and my own 3 cherubs sharing the space.
A small house full of frustrated and bored kids is never a fun experience in the winter so getting outdoors and making the most of each day is so worth it.
So, How To Get Your Kids Out without A Fight?
Does this sound familiar? Your kids are stuck indoors, they get fed up and start to huff, want snacks every 30 seconds and bicker which gets worse and worse to the point of tears and you end up feeling guilty for losing your temper. Yip!
- So how do we encourage kids to get out in the cold?
- To leave tablets and cell phone at home and enjoy the outdoors?
Start by agreeing to go out for a walk or some activity each day, it soon becomes a habit, then try some of these ideas below.
- Tablets, cell phones and other screens all invite kids to tune in and tune out everything else.
- The weather can be cold and wet.
It’s so sad to see kids sitting outdoors no matter where they go and being glued to their screens. When we visit the playground there is more kids sitting on benches playing with their mobiles then there is playing.
My own 2-year-old is obsessed with YouTube despite me insisting he wasn’t allowed.
(That’s too many 3am wake ups trying to settle an ill toddler with a sickness bug to thank.)
So Here’s 10 best winter activities for kids to get them outdoors, having fun as a family.
Tip 1: Let’s Make Leaf Mould.
Gather up any autumn leaves that have fallen around your area and make a big pile in the corner of you garden.
Once you’ve finished having fun jumping in the pile, having a leaf fight and making leaf angels, gather them back together and make a big leaf pile. We section off a corner of our plot with chicken wire to keep the leaves contained as we gather a huge amount every year. Leave it out of the way to rot down over time. It’s best to keep the pile damp.
If you only collect a bag or 2 you could leave the leaves in a bin bag or similar container. Just remember to dampen the leaves and puncture some holes in the bottom of the bag so the air can circulate.
You can also use your autumn leaves to mulch your garden beds to help keep your plants’ roots extra warm over the chilly winter. As the leaves rot down they become food for the soil.
Tip 2. Do Some Gardening
Winter is a great time to plant lettuce, early peas, garlic in cell trays and sweet peas for beautiful early flowers.
Tip 3. Make Ice Sculptures
This is so simple but incredibly effective. Take some left over water bombs or balloons and fill with water.
Drop in some ever green sprigs, food colouring, or other brightly colured items and then freeze.
Once frozen just cut off the balloon and have fun!
This makes a great set of giant marbles to play with outdoors this winter.
You can also use different shaped tubs and trays to freeze and make all sorts of pretty ornaments, bird feeders or games.
Freeze an inch of water with berries, seeds and ither goodies fr the birds in a circular dish.
Once frozen hang it up for the birds to eat as it melts.
Tip 4. Make A Bird-Feeder.
Winter is a great time for helping the birds in your back garden .
We made simple bird feeders from pinecones smothered in peanut butter and seeds. The birds loved them and they are reuseable and completely adaptable to the type of birds you have or the time of year.
To make your own bird feeder, find simple instructions here
You could also try to make a simple bird house to help your feathered friends.
Tip 5. Plant Bulbs
Plant bulbs in a deep pot, with plenty of drainage material in the bottom like broken bits of terracotta pot or gravel.
Most bulbs should be planted twice as deeply as they are high, and about the same distance apart. So a 2cm bulb needs to be planted 6cm deep.
Bulbs are usually planted with the pointy end upwards. If you are unsure, plant the bulb sideways and it will turn the correct way up as it grows.
Place your pot outdoors, in a sheltered place. Protect it from strong winds and frosts, but make sure it finds some rain.
Tip 6. Plant Fruit Trees
Winter is the best time to plant fruit trees like apple, pears, plums etc.
You can order bare root fruit trees and bushes online easily but your local garden centre is the best place to have a fun day out and get lots of help and advice on choosing and caring for your fruit tree.
If you already have fruit trees, remember that winter is also the best time to prune trees depending on the type of fruit you have, for example, Autumn raspberry canes need to be chopped to ground level so they can grow from scratch next year.
Apples might need to be pruned to help your tree fruit better. Just remember that Winter is the time to do it.
Tip 7. Bird Diary
Set up bird feeders with all sorts of different food choices and keep them full as well as ensure there is a constant supply of water.
Then just find somewhere to watch your garden from and watch as your visitors decide which food they prefer.
LkjTip 8. Collect & Paint Your Own Garden Pots.
Start collecting pots and containers and make your own vegetable container garden.
You can paint over plastic pots with spray paint easily.
Clay pots are easier still so why not paint some personalized garden pots that will be ready to use in the spring.
You can also use them now to plant some coriander, rocket, basil or perpetual spinach on the windowsill.
My kids love to grow cress seeds in small clay pots after they have painted them with silly faces so the growing cress looks like hair.
They trim it to eat the cress on their sandwiches. Yum!
Tip 9. Grow Herbs In Pots
Pots of yummy herbs on the windowsill gives a great addition to any meal.
Whether you pluck as few mint leaves for tea of add some coriander to soups or curries.
It’s wonderful to have a tiny homegrown element to a meal.
Growing your own also means you can try varieties that aren’t sold in garden centres or are unusual flavours like apple mint, lemon thyme etc
These herbs are tough and they only need watering about every second or third week when they’re indoors but the leafy greens like coriander and parsley will need watering every 4 to 6 days.
To pick the herbs for the kitchen simply pinch off the tips with your fingers – doing this also prunes them which will encourage fuller, faster growing plants.
Tip 10. Make A Festive Wreath From Your Garden Plants
Why not use the evergreen plants in your garden to make a beautiful wreath for your door for the festive season.
Making your own is super easy and so much fun. You can adapt your wreath to how YOU want it to look and not pay huge price tags for a bought one.
So, there’s 10 activities to keep you active in the garden this coming winter. We looked at;
- How to make leaf mould.
- We could try some gardening
- We saw how ice sculptures can be fun
- Making a bird feeder
- We looked at how to grow bulbs for spring colour
- We can grow our own fruit trees
- Keeping a bird diary to help look after tour garden birds
- Painting pots to plant seeds in is a fantastic activity
- Herbs in pots is another fabulous idea to try.
- We also learned how to make a festive wreath. Phew!
So, what is your favourite activity in the garden over winter? I’d love to know!