Remember the summer? It was great wasn’t it? I particularly liked the bit where there was sun sometimes. Still, there is no point in dwelling in the past. Summer is gone and it’s never coming back again until next year, so now it’s time to adjust to the new, slightly damper world that is the autumn time.
Of course one of the downsides of the autumn is that there are now less opportunities for children to play outside, between the rain, and the cold, and the cold rain. However, the autumn is actually a really great time to get your kids out and about, learning about all the changes that are happening in nature, as well as helping to create something through all kinds of fun gardening activities. Here are some fun garden activities you can do with your kids when the leaves start to turn brown.
Plant Spring Bulbs: Get some irises, daffodils and tulips, and plant them ready for the spring. They’re easy to handle, so even young kids will enjoy digging them into the dirt.
Build a Scarecrow: A scarecrow is a great way to keep away birds and give your garden some personality. It’s a great creative project for the kids as well, whether they’re drawing a face to go on the scarecrow, or picking out its outfit!
Explore the Wildlife: As the plants begin to malt and rot, all kinds of wildlife will turn up to the party. Get a pile of fallen leaves and put them to one side in the garden, letting them sit for a week or so. Then give your children some thick gardening gloves, a trowel and a magnifying glass to see what creatures have turned up there!
Sunflower Harvest: If you’ve grown sunflowers during the summer, now is a great time to see how tall they’ve grown and harvest their seeds to grow some more next year! This is a great opportunity to teach children about the cycle of planting and harvesting, and how the same is done with their food. You can also show them how plants that have begun to rot make excellent compost, which can be used to prepare beds for further plants in future.
Plant Autumn Crops: Autumn is the perfect time to plant onion and garlic bulbs. They make for a natural form of pest control, and your kids will love eating food that uses garlic and onions they grew themselves!
Other crops that you can plant at this time of year include cauliflower, broccoli and Asian greens. However, if you plant these crops you will have to teach the children to look out for cabbage moths that like to plant their eggs on these crops.
Harvest Summer Crops: While you’re planting those crops, it’s also your last chance to harvest any courgettes, capsicum peppers and tomatoes you planted over the summer. As well as eating these, or using them in chutneys or jams, don’t forget to collect and rinse the seeds to save for later in the year!
Kick Some Autumn Leaves: Because kicking autumn leaves is fun!
Build a Garden Den: Whether it’s a tree house, a cabin or a secret hidey hole, having a spot in the garden to hide from both the weather and your parents is a great thing for a child.
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who loves kicking autumn leaves.