Part of an article by Jackie Herald on family gardens and outside play.
Article by Caroline Donald looking at how a few clever outdoor touches mean outdoor spaces can be made idyllic for children while still bearable for parents. Includes an interview with Dawn on ideas for creating attractive play spaces.
"Dawn Isaac, a Cambridgeshire-based designer who specialises in family gardens, suggests creating a sandpit area in a deck with a cover that goes over it when the children have stopped playing for the day, or using a strong archway as a place to hang a swing that can be easily unhooked and stored away.
"Although she has three children - Ava, 9, Oscar, 7, and Archie, 4 - Isaac hasn't converted her own garden into a mini version of a municipal playground. 'You don't have to have permanent play equipment for a garden to be interesting,' she says. A hidden area in a corner, for example, can become a den; if there is planting in front of it, then the children feel that they are in their own hidden world, while their paretns can admire the flowers."
Read more at The Sunday Times (subscription required).
Two projects from Garden Crafts to Children: Edible Flower Colander (pictured) and Jam Jar Night Lights.
"Gardening has always been the perfect activity for children. It combines muck and magic with the chance to get messy and the promise of great things growing from even the tiniest of seeds.
"The gardening projects featured over these pages are designed to be fun and inspire children, imbuing them with a love of nature and all things gardening, and are easy for little fingers to do.
"As the large family garden is becoming a rarity these days, these projects are suitably bijou, if that's what you need; for example the edible flower colander can be created even if you have no outside space at all, and the pretty jam jar garden lights could be used to decorate a small patio or, indeed, an indoor room."
A book extract from Garden Crafts for Children including planting a sunflower alley and constructing a multi-storey insect hotel.
"Children and gardening seem an obvious combination. A chance to play with water and get filthy without pesky grown-ups becoming annoyed – what’s not to love? But despite a massive rise in school gardening over the past decade, this doesn’t always translate to youngsters at home.
"So how do you encourage children to pick up a rake rather than a remote? This is something I’ve tried to tackle in Garden Crafts for Children. Rather than talking in depth about horticultural subjects such as germination or soil preparation, which may put off children and less-confident parents, the book tries to inspire them with projects to create themselves, with a little supervision.
"The fact that they learn gardening skills along the way is the happy side effect. It’s like hiding the cauliflower of horticulture beneath the cheese sauce of crafts."
Read the whole article here.