It only feels like yesterday since the children went back to school and now they’re off again! An odd little holiday, it can be hard to think of things to do – we’re still feeling the pinch from Christmas, the weather isn’t great and there’s nothing good on the television!
So what to do with your little cherubs? Although the garden is a little quiet this time of year there is still plenty of fun to be had. Here’s our roundup of half term fun.
Gordon Castle Natural Play Area
Our natural play area has been designed to encourage children, from a young age, to begin exploring and understanding their natural environment.
The space has been created almost entirely from reclaimed Estate materials; stone from the Castle walls, storm blown logs, gravel and rocks from the quarry pit and plants grown in the garden. The project was a combined staff effort to dig, gather, plant and plow the natural playground into shape, all under the expertise and experience of Timberplay Scotland.
Let your child’s imagination run free as they learn about the diversity of nature, overcome little challenges and – as budding gardeners – work with elemental materials to create their very own natural story.
This play garden, will develop, grow and change with both the seasons and new ideas. It is intended to be a dynamic space into which visitors of all ages can enjoy. We have an outdoor kitchen, bug hotel, den building area, massive sandpit and obstacle course. After the holidays, we are going to close the play area for a few days for maintenance. We are going to add lots of wild flowers, stepping stumps, wooden drum kit, giant black board, bug hotel renovations and living willow structures!
This super simple trail can be applied anywhere – tailor to your environment. Swap stones for cones, leafs for branches; just let the children’s imaginations run wild!
If you are doing this with older children, split them into teams and the team to do or collect all of the tasks first, wins.
a stripy or spotty stone
a leaf with a strong smell
a leaf from an apple, a pear and a plum tree from round the walls
a sprig of lavender
a long piece of grass (maze)
a roly poly
a song or dance
spot minibeasts in the pond
find your way to the top of the maze
build a stone cairn or sand castle
Make your own bug hotel!
So for ours we uses building pallets stacked on top of one another (we used 5 or 6) and in each of the gaps, stuff full of natural materials to make habitats for your creepy crawlies. You can use stones, shells, twigs, fur cones, dry leaves, dry grass, logs, wood off cuts, old bits of pipe, bamboo canes etc etc…
If you don’t want to make one as big as ours, use a wooden box turned on its side and layer up with different materials. The most important thing is to make sure the materials stay dry – no insect will return to a damp hotel! Leave your hotel in the same place year on year and you’ll soon get lots of creepy crawlies taking up residence. You can expect to find earwigs, woodlouse, miner bees, lady birds, ground beetles, centipedes and if you’re lucky maybe even some mice!
We’re open seven days a week so come and visit us. Fresh coffee and home-bakes await for the Mums and Dads!