Here, Lisa Lyons from Plastic Box Shop offers her top three tips for helping your kids to create wildlife nooks in whatever outdoor space you have.
If your kids have now been out of school for three months, or they've gone back to their classes but you're worried about the fast-approaching summer holidays, you might be looking for new ways to keep them entertained. And, one way you can stop them from getting bored, while also encouraging them to spend more time outside, is to help them create some lovely little nature nooks in your garden or yard.
According to the latest State of Nature report, 35% of species have seen their populations decrease since 1970, and we can all do our bit to help rectify this. And, one of the ways your family can help is by creating habitats for wildlife that might be struggling to find somewhere comfortable to live. Here, we're going to give you three projects that you and your little ones can work on. Not only will this keep them occupied and also benefit your local ecosystem, but it can also teach your kids a lot about respecting nature and doing what you can to help it thrive.
Plant wildflowers for pollinators
Pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, are a vital element of our garden ecosystems. In fact, it's estimated that around 1,300 varieties of plants are grown around the world, and these help to provide us with all of the food, drinks, medicines, and even fabrics that we rely on every day. But around 75% of these are pollinated by animals and insects (Growing a Greener World), which means we would be lost without them. And you can do your bit to help them by planting some wildflowers in your garden.
This is an activity that's great for you and your kids, because it's incredibly easy to do. All you need is a bag of mixed wildflower seeds that are specifically pollinator friendly. You can then scatter these in your flowerbeds or planters, where they'll grow and bloom. Just make sure you never use pesticides on them, as this can be harmful to the insects you're looking to support. Not only will your family be rewarded with the satisfaction that you're doing your bit for the environment, but the resulting flowers will also look gorgeous in your garden!
Build a home for hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are adorable little creatures, but they can also be quite shy, which means they'll need a little bit of encouragement to visit your garden. So, it's a good idea to get together with your family and do some research into what kinds of environments they like to live in. Then you and your kids can set about building a welcoming home for them. It's not as difficult as you might think!
You can buy readymade hedgehog houses that have been built especially for this purpose, but it's also quite simple to make your own (and this will help to keep your little ones entertained for longer). The RSPB has a simple guide to creating the perfect hedgehog house, which explains everything you need to know, from what you'll require, to exactly how you should assemble the new habitat.
Create a small pond
If you know your little ones would love a garden pond, but you aren't ready to make the commitment, why not try making one out of a plastic container? It's a very affordable way to create a new habitat for animals in your garden, and it can always be moved around or even put away if you decide to change things up.
You can either dig a hole for your DIY pond, or simply leave it sitting on the ground. You should add a layer of gravel and stones to the bottom, then leave your container out to collect rainwater. The water you get from the tap contains chemicals that can harm wildlife, so you'll want to avoid filling it yourself. You'll just have to be patient. If you would like more tips on creating your own garden pond from a container, check out The Wildlife Trusts' guide.
These three ideas will help to keep your kids occupied, as well as create a lovely habitat for local wildlife. So, you and your little ones can learn more about the local ecosystem, as well as help to support it!