Are you looking for easy and eco friendly ways to amuse the kids at home this summer? We have some fun ideas to keep the kids busy for an afternoon, or longer, that have the added benefit of being kind to the environment.
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Eco Friendly Ways to Amuse the Kids
#1. Build a Bug Hotel
Using old bits of wood, pallets, bricks, hollow pipes and stone you can create a beautiful bug and insect hotel. It will not only be a feature for your garden but offers protection to bugs and insects when the weather is cooler.
Once it is built, be sure to have a notebook to keep track of all the bugs and insects that visit your hotel.
#2. Plant a Butterfly Friendly Garden
A lovely way to encourage your children to interact with nature is to spend time watching wildlife. A really great way to attract wildlife to your garden is to plant flowers that attract butterflies.
It doesn’t have to be a large space, and with the right planting, you could attract up to 59 different varieties of butterflies! Find out how to create your very own butterfly garden with your kids.
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SSE Airtricity Explorers App
Want an easy way to teach your children about sustainability? SSE Airtricity and Dublin Zoo have teamed up to help families learn more about sustainability.
The Eco Explorers app, which can be used on any tablet or smartphone, encourages explorers to enjoy their natural spaces and think positively about sustainability and play.
It identifies nine Eco Explorer stations for parents and kids to discover as they explore Dublin Zoo, teaching children simple steps to becoming more sustainable such as making compost, recycling, and harvesting rain water.
Every time you complete a task you’ll receive an Eco Explorer badge. Once you have completed all nine stations you’ll be a fully-fledged Eco Explorer! You can also continue the learning and activities at home too.
The Eco Explorers App is available to download free from iTunes and Google Play Store.
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#3. Have a Snail Race
Find some slugs or snails and place them on a flat surface or on the window or patio door – see whose snail gets to the bottom first.
If they need a bit of encouragement you could place some lettuce leaves at the end for them!
Be sure to return them to the garden when the race is over.
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#4. Make a Bird Feeder
There really are so many great eco friendly projects you can do with kids to encourage them to learn more about birds. One of the most simple is to make your own bird feeder and watch to see how many different species come and visit your mobile bird catering unit!
We have the perfect bird feeder recipe here.
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#5. Grow a Pizza Garden
Give the kids a spot in the garden or some window or patio planters. Get them to grow the herbs you need to flavour a pizza, oregano, basil, marjoram, chives etc.. Get the children to help look after them and when they are ready, help you prepare delicious pizza. Find out what you need to get your Pizza Garden started.
If you have more space or access to a green house, grow the toppings too! These could include tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, courgette, onions, sweetcorn, mushrooms etc.
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#6. Create a Fairy Village
The is a longer term project that may require a trip to the garden centre, but your kids will have hours of fun looking after their secret fairy garden.
- Use a large plant pot or tub and fill it with soil.
- Add some small flowering plants like pansies, daisies, snowdrops or primroses.
- Add a small amount of grass seed or use some moss, heather or bark chippings, this will help create a magical world.
- Add a ceramic house ornament, where the fairies can live or even better, make your own fairy homes from recycled plastic.
- Decorate your Fairy Garden with light ornaments, suitable for outdoors, or you could add a pinwheel or a solar light to the pot.
#7. Turn Trash into Treasure
Turn plastic bottles into bird feeders or boats, sweet wrappers into sun catchers, old clothes into bunting, used wrappers into a tote bag, old socks into puppets.
Pretty much anything can be turned from trash into treasure by using a bit of imagination.
What are you going to make this summer?
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#8. Go On a Nature Scavenger Hunt
A nature scavenger hunt is the perfect way to pass a few hours for your own children or for a larger group.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, and you can contain it in the garden or head to the local park or beach. The questions posed will depend on where you decide to hold your nature scavenger hunt.
Check out Jill’s suggestions from her nature scavenger hunt here.
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#9. Set Up an Outdoor Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are such fun for kids, and a great way to get them off the couch and active. Ask them to run around the garden a few times, and you’ll get no response, but challenge them to an obstacle course, and they are ready and waiting at the start line before you’ve finished the sentence!
Get them involved in helping you build it too and you can all get active with these fun obstacle course ideas for kids.
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#10. Build a Fort or Den
When I was young my brothers and I would spend hours hiding out in our homemade forts and dens, which were really just a large cardboard box, the clothes horse or dining room table draped with sheets, blankets and pillows.
We played games, read books and set the world to rights in our indoor forts. And we always tried to make them bigger and better each time.
As we got older, we moved them outdoors and used old crates, pallets, wood and ropes to make elaborate huts where we held club meetings with our friends.
So get out the old duvet covers and sheets, cushions and rugs or for older children, wood, crates and ropes and get them to create their very own forts for adventures with their friends.
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#11. Measure Your Carbon Footprint
There are many online calculators that you can use to gauge and measure your carbon footprint. This is one exercise you won’t mind encouraging screen time for!
Get the children and the adults to use an online carbon footprint calculator to measure their carbon footprint and learn ways they can help reduce it. Everyone will be amazed at what uses energy and how small changes can make a big difference.
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#12. Paint Rock Decorations
Paint some rocks to use as markers for seeds you have planted, or as pretty decorations for the flower beds.
- Gather some smooth stones in the garden or at the beach.
- Get some old newspapers or cardboard and take the paints outside and decorate your stones in different colours.
- Paint on some clear varnish to make sure that the colours last.
You could also paint some pots which the kids can then use to grow their own seeds.
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#13. Build a Worm Farm
Using a see through glass or plastic container, add layers of soil and sand and some leaves for food. Find some worms in the garden and add them to the container. See how they tunnel into the ground and help make spaces for roots to grow.
It is very important to be sure to release the worms back into your garden when you have observed them enough. Worms help to keep the soil aerated, help to break down organic matter and mix it into the soil for plants to use. They help create good drainage and the manure they leave behind is a great source of fertiliser.
Having worms in your garden is a sign that your soil is healthy!
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#14. Set Up a Rain Water Collection Point
As anyone living in Ireland or those who have visited, will know, the sun does not always shine! We get our fair share of rain and when it comes, we should be ready to collect it.
Get the children to help set up a water collection point where rain water can be collected and used to water plants during the summer months. It will help to teach them about water conservation and has the added benefit of reducing flooding in the garden when we get very heavy downpours.
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