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School Holidays Beckoning….

I have been teaching just about full-time since my return from Zambia, hence my lack of updates! With the school holidays now upon us, I can hopefully start catching up on myself a bit… still backlogs of stuff from Gardeners’ World Live, not to mention my Zambia pics and videos!

This weekend, I had my brother’s kids to stay, whilst they escaped for a well-earned day and night away in peace and quiet! They left Rory (age 6), James (age 4) and Emma (age 2) with me… the first time all three had stayed over night!

Many parents dread the summer holidays… childcare can be a nightmare… and very expensive, plus many day trips out can cost a small fortune, especially if you have three kids. For me, those times seem far away and I love spending time with these three young minds, bursting with enthusiasm and like little sponges, ready to absorb whatever information I can throw at them! This weekend, I was thinking about lots of the things these three love doing… and in fact most of the activities I did cost very little… or nothing at all… I thought I would share them with you…

Planting up some summer pots:

Cost: £3 for 2 trays of bedding plants, on special offer in Morrisons

Time spent: 1 – 2 hours

Purchasing some cheap bedding plants, the kids and I emptied out some old flower pots and replanted them with the new bedding plants. They loved looking at the pictures of what their new plants would end up looking like and enjoyed getting dirty with all that potting compost!…

Watering the garden and flower pots

Cost: 3 watering cans @ £.39 each

Time spent: Several hours over the whole weekend

I spied these cheap and cheerful little watering cans in Lichfield and they proved to be a big hit! Providing them with a bucket of water for re-filling, the three of them spent ages backwards and forwards up and down the garden watering just about everything! Result!!

Pond Dipping:

Cost: Nothing!

Time spent: 1 hour

There is nothing like dabbling in the pond… especially if you can get your hand in there too and hold some froglets and water shrimps!

Feeding the hens and collecting eggs

Cost: Nothing… I already have hens!

Time spent: Half an hour

One of the kids’ favourite activities is feeding the hens and collecting eggs. One of my hens is broody and I am letting her sit on some eggs to incubate them. I have marked these ones so I can continue to collect the others that are laid. This led to an interesting discussion about eggs, chicks, fertility, incubation and hatching….. 

Field walk

Cost: Nothing

Time spent: 2 hours

We spent a few hours playing in the field and walking around looking for wildlife! We looked at and talked about grasses, flowers, insects birds… in fact they were interested in everything! We found a bumble bee, still a little cool, on a piece of plant and it gave me the chance to show the kids a bumble bee up close. We talked about it and I dispelled the myth that all bees sting you ! When the kids looked closely at the bee, it raised its front leg…. they thought it was waving at them!

We also found some Cinnebar moth caterpillars on the ragwort… and held them of course!

Even a snail offered great opportunities for talk, feeling and laughing…. they loved watching its eyes rise on a stalk!

Strawberry picking & Strawberry meringues

Cost £5 in PYO strawberries, £3 in meringues £1 cream

Time spent: Couple of hours

These three LOVE strawberries, so we popped down to our local PYO. This is a fantastic activity for kids and they loved it as they had never done it before! They really enjoyed searching for the biggest and ripest strawberries in the lines and then taking them to the shop to be weighed. On the way home, we bought some cream and meringues and made some very special puddings!

It is hard work looking after small kids and keeping them occupied, but I feel that many people forget the simplest of activities… the being outdoors, building a den, searching for bits and bobs in the garden, watering, planting…. I am sure they enjoyed it as much as Aunty WiuldlifeKate did! :o)



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