5 Ways to get your Kids Unplugged and Outside
Tracy Williams, successful entrepreneur, Head of Sales and Operations at Rolux and mom of twins, has some ideas on getting your kids to ditch their screens this December and dirty their hands in the garden instead.
It’s every parent’s greatest challenge in the digital age – balancing children’s screen time with real world activities. While it is undoubtedly easier to let screens ease their boredom, too much screen time stifles creativity, imagination, and playfulness – all essential to the development of growing children.
During the school holidays this December, make it your mission to hide away any electronic devices so that you can reconnect with your young children and share information and projects that will inform them of the world around them. Start a project that revolves around the outdoors and begins in your garden. If you can get your kids interested in gardening, not only will it help with stress and anxiety, but it will also engage all their senses, teach responsibility and patience as well as promoting healthy eating habits and will hone their fine motor skills. Working in the garden under your guidance also introduces them to scientific concepts.
If you want to get your kids unplugged and outdoors, try some of these simple ideas to get your kids excited about gardening these holidays:
Pot up containers
Find some containers and let your kids plant them up. a fun activity that the kids can get immersed in is to grab some craft paint and let the kids decorate old flower pots that you may have lying around in the garden. Another idea that also involves recycling is to entice your kids to think out of the box and look for items in the home they could use in different ways - old toys, wellington boots, wheelbarrows or unused drawers - all of these can all be used as containers for plants and flowers and will the garden a playful whimsical feeling.
Do make sure that any container the children choose has drainage holes. Let the kids fill it with potting soil to a level of about two thirds of the way before they plant and arrange their seeds or chosen seedlings in the container. Make sure that they fill in around the roots and press down the soil. Lastly, they need to water well and position in a sunny, sheltered spot. Let them work out where the pot should be placed and then give them the task of caring for the seeds or seedlings.
Pack a picnic
A way to get any children excited to be outdoors in the garden is to set up a picnic. Use fresh ingredients, fruits and vegetables as part of the feast and teach the children how each vegetable grows and its healthy benefits for the body. This will inspire young children to want to set up their own fruit or vegetable patch and strawberries are super easy to grow for the kids and delicious and healthy to eat.
Give them their own patch
Put aside an area of garden and give your children autonomous control over it. Here, they can plant the flowers of their choice and grow their favourite fruits and veggies. Seeds that are quick to sprout and ready to feast on in a matter of weeks include radish, lettuce and watercress. Big seeds are easier for little hands to handle – try nasturtium, peas, sunflowers and squash. Water regularly and keep weeds out – they need to care for their patch to see results.
Create a bug hotel
Get your kids excited about the many beneficial creepy crawlies in the garden by creating a special place for them. Bug hotels can be a welcome spot for many creatures, with hidey holes, tunnels and cosy beds for spiders, ladybirds, moths, butterflies and caterpillars. Just find a box, pallet or empty plastic bottle and send your little adventurers out to find some nature – they can gather twigs, pinecones, dry leaves, stones, flowers, bark, bamboo, toilet paper rolls and old plastic pots. Once they have collected everything they need they can organise these into the framework and put it in a sheltered spot and then keep an eye out for new residents.
Give them a small notebook where they can make note of visitors to the bug hotel or let younger children draw the creates with colourful crayons.
Give them chores
Kids love to copy their parents. Next time you’re outside gardening, get your child involved. Pruning shrubs? If your child is old enough, give them a small pair of pruning shears and show them how to cut off dead branches. For this project, let your children spot and identify weeds and assist them in removing weeds out of garden beds and borders. One thing that all children love is to water the garden, so make sure to let them do this as a regular chore over the holidays. A fun activity that the children might also enjoy is to let them gather leaves and garden debris. Older kids can be given lawn-mowing duty – give them a time challenge as an incentive.
Start a compost heap
Once they’ve raked the garden, use all the gathered leaves, grass clippings and twigs to make compost and teach the natural cycle of life. Find a spot in a corner of your garden in partial shade for a bin or a heap. Things you can put on your compost heap include fruit and veggie scraps, grass clippings, twigs, fallen leaves and eggshells. Then wait for the magic - kids will be amazed at how waste can be transformed into nutrient-rich soil.
Rolux is an established South African brand
offering innovative products perfectly in tune
with the fun, outdoor lifestyle enjoyed in this
country. No matter your garden size, Rolux’s
garden equipment offers quality, reliability and
durability, allowing you to live your best life
safe in the knowledge that your outdoor space is
well looked after. Built for life, the new and
enhanced range gives you value for money – so
you can do it right, right now! Rolux is
committed to building lifelong relationships
with you, our customer, and looks forward to
learning with you, innovating and improving our
products as we go.