A garden for your kid...

A garden for your kid...

A good garden does not have to be a glamorous show-piece. It can be a fun place for your children to bond with nature, writes A Dyuti

Proud of your lovely garden? Sure, you’ve earned the right to be! But, have you ever wondered how yelling at your kid to keep off the well-tended lawn and carefully-laid stepping stones cuts him/her off from nature?

Or telling them to refrain from thrusting a cutting or two into the soil at the wrong spot and peeling the paint off your elegant garden furniture or scribbling Mickey Mouse faces on your prized garden artefacts might actually drive the little one towards the television or the computer.

So, how do you make space for your child in your garden? Well, to begin with, you can create a playarea irrespective of how small the space is. So, let’s see what to include in the playarea.

A sand-pit is mandatory in most lists. The size and shape depends on the overall garden space and how large your heart is and how amazing your creative capacity is. You can erect a shelter or canopy over it to protect him/her from the elements.

If you build a hut/tepee/playhouse, they’ll love to hang out there with friends. Grass around the playhouse will get trampled down quickly. So, look for more durable but safe surfaces.

Got a huge tree? Then, a tree house with steps leading to it will be truly appreciated. Even if a big tree is missing, you could get a little wooden house constructed at an elevated spot and carve out steps for access. A slope in your site will render this task easier. It’ll also facilitate incorporation of a slide or a climbing rope.

Remember, a swing can even be an improvised rubber tyre suspended from a stout branch. Do you have space for a trampoline, see-saw, a little bridge or a full-fledged swing? Group them together near the playhouse.

Don’t forget tiny furniture. Plan paved areas for riding bicycles/scooters, skating or pushing prams around. Could you allow them to play ball games on your lawn? Remember, this might prevent it from appearing trim.

Getting hands dirty

Next, you can earmark a small area for the little gardener to indulge in his/her flair for gardening, no matter how scraggly the result may seem to your eyes. Provide him/her with child-sized tools and gloves. Don’t insist on neatness or strict categorisation here.

They could indulge in a hearty mix of herbs, vegetables and flowers, planting these at random in their own garden space. Handling diverse varieties of seeds, plants and wildlife could translate into practical lessons in Biology.

Allot an area in your garden for plants that’ll attract fauna too, such as bees, butterflies or even dragonflies. Your kids will simply love the connect with nature. Birdhouses, bird-feeders and bird-baths will lure winged friends.

A word of caution though: avoid poisonous plants. Train the children to refrain from putting leaves and flowers into their mouths. Go for a water feature only if your kid is old enough to know its dangers. Plus, offer only encouragement and suggestions, but never straitjacket them. After all, a garden is meant to be a fun place!

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