When you have a big job to do before you have kids you just go right ahead and do it, but once you’re a parent you have to think about how what you’re doing can be incorporated in to your toddler’s day because there’s too much to do in just your toddler/child’s nap time, or after they’ve gone to bed. For us, this came when we decided to take down the hedge and cut down a tree at the bottom of our garden – the hedge was half dead and half overgrown and the tree was diseased and blocking out a ridiculous amount of light from our garden as well as neighbouring gardens.
We took down the hedge first – it was something I could easily do without R, giving R the chance to cut down the tree later. I just had to figure out what to do with Oliver while I wielded a huge pair of secateurs that were far too dangerous for Oliver to have his hands near.
We got Oliver a little trowel and fork so he could happily dig around the soil at the bottom of the hedge, then he used his rake to collect all the leaves that had fallen off the hedge as I attacked it. He also helped to pick up the branches and put them in a pile, obviously playing with them at the same time too! He made a few ‘magic wands’ with thin twiggy branches that he could snap in to smaller sections and walked around shouting “zabbbaa dooooooo” and turning me in to a frog (thanks for that, Nanny Plum)
Moving earth is something else we’ve involved Oliver in, he’s helped us fill buckets and we’ve also encouraged him to use his tractor and trailer to move earth, which he really enjoyed.
Obviously, while we were destroying the tree and hedge we were also destroying the habitat of lots of lovely little minibeasts – so this has kept Oliver entertained too. We’ve rescued a lot of slimy snails and wiggly worms over the past month or so. The below snail was lucky and got given a lettuce leaf to munch on – although it was more interested in escaping his cage.
What seemed like a daunting task at the beginning turned out to not be so bad and we found some interesting things to do to keep Oliver entertained and we were able to teach him a little bit about nature too. It’s also given us ideas about things we want to include in our garden when we eventually manage to finish it.
What do you do to keep your little one(s) entertained while you are in the garden, do you get them involved?