Kids Garden Activities are fantastic for getting the kids outdoors especially in Autumn, helping to mark the change of seasons.
On a misty morning when the sun is low in the sky and your breath appears as white clouds in the air, just stop and listen. Listen to the birds, the dry grasses rubbing together and the calmness over your world.
If Spring is the waking up of nature then Autumn is the ‘yawn before bedtime’ for a lot of our natural world.
Trees and plants as well as animals are preparing for the winter ahead. Squirrels are storing nuts and goodies for the Winter. Geese and other migratory birds are leaving for warmer countries before the temperature drops.
Your garden too will be winding down, colours of flowers will fade, leaves will be turning brown etc. It’s important to notice the changes in Autumn, to appreciate the year gone by.
The days are finally growing darker and cooler and it’ll soon be time to think about pulling out those wooly jumpers and wellies. (WOOHOO!)
However, it doesn’t mean we need to be stuck indoors all the time. As the days get shorter, it’s even more important to get the kids out in the fresh air, absorbing all the vitamin D they need from the sun and exercising their bodies. But How? When?
Autumn provides us with a huge variety of new and exciting activities to try, from conker hunting, apple bobbing or pumpkin harvesting to leaf painting, and nature hunting.
So, here’s a few ideas we look forward to every year. Get out there and make the best of the low light, golden leaves and magical misty mornings.
SO Here’s Our Best Garden Activities For Kids This Autumn
Look around your garden or vegetable patch and start saving some seeds for next year.
(You could also Sort out the seeds into size order etc for little kids)
Try saving sunflower or pumpkin seeds, as these are a good size for kids, easy to dry and both of which are very tasty.
Just keep them in a sheltered corner and pot on as they grow and next Spring they’ll be ready to put on their show again.
Let Them Make More Plants For Free.
As well as saving and sowing your own seeds, It’s a good idea to divide some plants.
Different families of plants grow different ways. Some spread along the ground via underground shoots, others prefer to grow bulbs or rhizomes to help their spread.
In this case we’re looking at clump forming plants.
A plant will grow outwards and let the centre die off eventually, so as gardeners the best way to increase the number of plants you have and give your plants a better quality life, it’s better to chop them into chunks every few years.
This sounds brutal but if your take a spade and chop down through the plants into 5 clumps (getting rid of the older middle clump) then replant these into other areas of the garden they will very quickly regrow and establish well.
Kids love doing this and it’s a good way to teach life-cycles.
AND It’s a fantastic way to create new plants for free.
The most familiar summer flowering perennials such as Hostas or Geraniums, Osteospernum, and Euphorbia can be divided in autumn as there is still lots of warmth in the soil to root the plant well before the Winter.
Another fun task for kids is to Plant onion sets or Garlic Bulbs.
These look like mini onions or garlic cloves and like to be planted in cooler weather.
For onions. Make a hole and plant with the flatter root end down just under the soil with the tip poking out. Garlic cloves like to be planted slightly deeper.
Build a bug hotel
Building a bug hotel can be done in a thousand ways, try propping an old tyre up against a sheltered wall and stuffing it with all sorts of wood, sticks , pinecones and straw. Another way to make a larger version is to use old pallets stacked up and again stuffed with all sorts of garden debris that bugs find irresistible.
As in the above picture, your hotel needs a waterproof roof to keep it dry. You could even make a green roof to grow grass or mini plants like Sedum.
Make Seed Bombs
Do you wish you could get the kids gardening but it is either too wet or you don’t want them digging up your flowers?
Here is a super simple way you can teach the kids to make seed bombs by recycling paper. It’s an easy way to make your garden a little bit brighter!
In fact it’s not just your garden that could benefit, wasteland at the edge of your car parking area or on the round-a-bout on your way to school can all be improved easily and make such a huge difference to everyone who sees them.
Wildlife will also benefit from these small patches of flowers and plants for nectar and protection.
And the bonus is that if the seed bombs are kept cool and dry they last a year so you can prepare them now so they’re ready to plant in Spring or when your garden or local area is ready for them.
Washing Out Seed Trays And Pots.
The kids love getting a tub of water and lots of cloths and scrubbing brushes and washing their toys (as well as anything that doesn’t move fast enough like the dog)
In Autumn its a good idea to give the pots and trays you use for growing plants a good clean. It can prevent the spread of plant disease and it’s quite nice to start next year with clean pots without standing in the freezing cold.
Pot Up Strawberry Runners And Make New Plants
After strawberries have fruited, the plants produce long stems ‘runners’ that search out the ground and when they touch some earth they will root. Our kids love to decorate some pots and then peg one of these runners into their pot.
After around 3 weeks, a little mini strawberry plant will grow and it can be cut away from the parent plant and planted wherever you like.
Each year we grow lots of different varieties of pumpkins. In our cold climate we don’t always have great results but we manage to produce a few precious pumpkins.
The kids love to hunt under the leaves to find them. We dont carve these pumpkins as we tend to grow for flavour not size but the kids love drawing faces on them. We can then use them in the kitchen afterwards. Our kids LOVE pumpkin soup!.
Fill The Compost Bin
Each Autumn the kids go mad helping me clear all the dead plants from the garden and vegetable patch.
By the time we put all the weedings, finished plants and fallen leaves our compost bin is over flowing. They especially love chopping up the leaves and throwing it in ninja style.
Feed The Soil
If you have compost from the previous year it should already be black and crumbly. If so, dig some into your pots, over the raised beds (the kids love digging!) Or into the garden.
You can lay it on top as a mulch too.
The plants will appreciate the extra protection from an extra blanket of compost and the soil life will love the extra feed which in turn helps your plants.
It’s also a fantastic way to see lots of wildlife as the compost should be full of all sorts of bug life for the kids to find. And where there’s bug there will be lots of wildlife around to munch them like frogs, hedgehogs, and birds.
Make Step Stones.
This such a simple activity but it has so many variations. You could make a path through your garden for the kids to follow.
Cut Raspberry Canes
If you have Summer raspberries, now is the time to chop back the stems. Cut them right back to 15cm sticks so the will grow again next year. Autumn varieties are just about to fruit so wait for those delicious berries and enjoy!!
If you haven’t any raspberries or fruit you could always buy a potted plant and plant into your garden or wait till winter and buy bare root varieties. Read more about growing fruit here
What You Can Plant Now.
There are so many things you can plant in your garden now that will give you amazing colour through the Winter and next Spring. Wallflower, Winter Pansies and Spring bulbs.
What Can You Sow.
Sow seeds now for an early crop next year or as a winter top up. Spring cabbage, rocket and hardy salad are easy to grow in the greenhouse. Just give a cloche or a little protection over the winter.
Leave a messy area
Gather fallen leaves and let the kids enjoy them before stacking them for your autumn wildlife to claim as their home for the Winter. Hedgehogs Love a leave pile in a sheltered corner.
PLANT SPRING BULBS
Spring bulbs are the first flowers to appear and brighter your garden after a long winter
Daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should all be planted by the end of September; and tulips need to go it around November.
With a little planning you could plant some tulips under some wall flowers for a lovely combination.
Here, we have wet soggy soil so my kids love to plant bulbs in pots. We end up with dozens of black pots waiting to go into the garden. When they are ready to flower we just pop the whole pot into the garden and let them flower.
Draw Up A Wish-List
Spend some time planning what you’d like to grow next year – the childrens garden
has great tips on growing a child and wildlife friendly garden
Ok so there you are, some super simple but fantastic activities to get the Kids Garden off to a fantastic start this Autumn.
What kind of activities do your kids enjoy outdoors.