Yesterday my daughter and I spent most of the day in our small suburban garden, planting, pruning, weeding and watering. For young children, everyday tasks such as these can be ‘teeeedious’ which is why I try to mix a little magic in with the mundane whenever I’m outside with my kids. In doing so, I’ve found that they are far more likely to engage with nature and are then happy to help out with boring garden tasks. With some forward-planning (and a trip to my local nursery), our back garden was turned into a haven for fairies, a hideout for gnomes and the stomping ground of a large but, thankfully, benevolent dragon.
Whilst watering we found a beautiful fairy pond in a nasturtium leaf and picked some of the flowers to add to our salad for lunch. We also harvested some delicious fresh chillies from a plant sown into our garden a month ago. It is now laden with chillies of every colour and has by its very beauty encouraged my daughter to explore spicier flavours.
Not far from this plant we unearthed a cheeky looking Gnome who seemed quite content to hang out amongst some Violets. Gnomes are funny creatures. You either love ’em or hate ’em, but let me give you the tip, when a child discovers one by chance and you hear the resultant squeal of glee and witness the huge smiles radiating from a 6 year old; I guarantee that you’ll tolerate even the most kitsch Gnome face smiling up from the greenery.
When mowing the lawn we found a hole that had obviously been scraped out by a very large creature. We suspected a dragon and our theory was confirmed when not much further along we located some dragon poo (small white pebbles) neatly piled up under a lavender bush. This dragon was obviously trying hard to cover his tracks, but no such luck when you have an eager dragon-hunter hot on your heels.
Probably the highlight of the day was discovering some precious fairy glitter left on my daughter’s tomato plant. We have collected this and will add it to our found collection of nature’s treasures, unless of course, the fairies come asking for it.
The cost of providing the ‘set’ for this outdoor magic was minimal – a bag of white pebbles, one ceramic gnome, one chilli plant, a willingness to dig a hole in my lawn, a pot of gold glitter glue and a cardboard box. The upside is I now have a willing helper who is keen to weed the garden with me when she gets home from school later today.
The outdoors is where imagination and discovery collide in the most spectacular fashion. Mother Nature’s secrets are just begging to be discovered and what’s more, she is a brilliant, patient teacher and your child a willing student. Everything outdoors is pure magic. Encourage your child to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the magic in the mundane, the enchantment in the everyday and the word boring will vanish from your child’s vocabulary…….