Half term is fast approaching and as we all wonder why the children are afforded just so many holidays that it seems one break drifts into another, we’re thinking of ways to keep them occupied.

Whether you’re a grandparent that will invariably be having the children at some point, or a keen gardening parent, there are a bundle of ways you can have the day you would like, and make the children happy all at the same time!

It sounds ideal doesn’t it? A full day off drifting around the garden collecting seeds from lupins and poppies to scatter next year, whilst cutting back box hedging for the last time and aerating the lawn, however with a little quick thinking and imagination, you can not only enjoy a day of your dreams, you can have little mini helpers that with the right encouragement will lap up all those gardening jobs you’ve been saving for a sunny day.

Collecting Seeds

A little colourful bucket a few paper bags and a felt tip are all you need to set your children on the right path for at least half an hour. As they scour the garden for seed heads to be used next year, ask them to draw a picture of the flower they found them on the bags.

Making Scarecrows

It’s the right time of year to make a scarecrow or a guy, and outside is the best place to do it. With some old clothes, a lot of newspaper, straw, some sellotape and paint, they will have hours of fun on the lawn as they construct a great bird deterrent for you, however don’t be offended if it’s supposed to be a spitting image of you, but instead resembles the BFG!

Feed the Birds

Sunflowers are making their last show now, so armed with the dried heads, children will love to remove the seeds, and they can then fill up bird feeders, or with a little help make fat balls ready to hang within a few hours.

Harvest

The veggie patch is taking on its winter opening times now, so harvest your best crops with the children, and invent something for lunch or dinner. You should still have a good show of runner beans, beetroot, sweet corn, Swiss chard, leeks, parsnips, salsify and onions so there really is something for everyone.

Rake the leaves

Put like this it sounds like the most boring job in the world to a child, HOWEVER, if you tell them that you’d like them to rake the leaves into a big bouncy pile so you can all crush them at the end, they’ll obey immediately.

There are plenty of jobs that children like, and all can be adapted to the size of your plot. Maybe you have chickens, and they can collect eggs and give water, or a pony that needs a brush. Old CD’s make great bird deterrents, whereas children’s imaginations produce wonderful colourful cloches from used squash bottles, it’s never too early to get a child interested in gardening!

This was originally written for Raise Them by Martina Mercer