Easy Gardening Activities for Kids

Gardening is indeed one of the most interesting activities for many and growing plants is the best way to interact with nature. Being a gardener myself, I enjoy the sheer pleasure of watching the sprouting seeds, growing shoots, blooms and fruits. Love for nature is something that I developed at a very young age. But, nowadays, kids like spending time on gadgets and gizmos, rather than watching plants, birds or bugs. There are only a few, who are interested in understanding nature. While some parents love gardening, they forget to involve their kids in this wonderful activity. In some cases, the kids themselves do not find it interesting. If you want to awaken the nature lover in your kid, introducing them to gardening (that too at a young age) is one of the best ways.

Introducing Kids to Gardening

Kids are found to have an innate interest in nature. They love chasing butterflies and playing in mud or water. They like touching worms and bugs. If your kid belongs to this category, you can easily introduce him/her to gardening. For others, you have to identify their area of interest, before forcing them to grow plants. Some may love watching bugs and worms, while others love flowers. You have to engage them in activities, which allow them to follow their interests. Try to make the activity interesting and fun-filled, as kids tend to get bored easily.

If your kid loves flowers, let him/her identify different types of flowers and their smell. Tell them about how plants grow and produce blooms and fruits. If the kid is found to be interested in a particular plant, you can grow that in your garden. Ask the kid to plant the seeds or water the soil. He/she will be enthusiastic to find the seed sprout, grow and bloom. This method is useful for those with kids in the age group of four to six. For older ones, you can assign a patch of soil for gardening. Let them grow flowers and vegetables of their choice. Supervise their work and help them. You may also ask them to present their products in local fairs.

You can introduce younger kids to gardening, but in a different way. Explain to them about the different types of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables and how they grow in soil. Live examples are always better (choose those plants that grow fast). Let the kid watch, as you sow seeds, grow plants, remove weeds and feed them. This will help him/her to develop a bond with nature, at a very young age.

Fun-filled Gardening Activities for Kids

We all know that kids love fun-filled activities and anything that is monotonous, can be boring for them. So, make gardening a fun activity for them. Parents must plan the activities and join the kids for the same. The following are some tips about how to make gardening more interesting for kids.
To start with, allow your kid to roam around and explore the garden. You may also take the kid to places with natural surroundings. Collect different types of leaves and flowers and let the kids feel their texture and smell. Allow them to inspect different types of insects and worms.
For smaller kids, you may come up with activities like painting pots that are meant for plants. You may also allow them to collect differently shaped containers that can be used for this purpose. It could be anything from a discarded pair of shoes to an old can.
If you are searching for some fun-filled gardening activities for kids, try to make a watering can with old plastic bottles or containers. All you have to do is to make some holes on the lid of the bottle and a single hole (somewhere near the handle or top for air movement). Let your kid enjoy watering plants with the newly made watering can.
If you have space constraints, then get a good quality kids’ gardening kit and make your child grow some plants. These kits come with all the required materials for gardening, and so, are excellent for kids, especially the younger ones.
If you are ready to invest some time, then try to grow a playhouse (along with your kids) with plants like sunflower. You may also plant some cucumber or pole beans in between. Watermelon is also not a bad choice for this purpose. Kids will enjoy growing such a playhouse that could be a perfect spot for them to play and have fun.
Gardening activities for kids can be fun, if you allow them to grow plants in specific shapes. Allot them some soil or a patch of soil and some fast-growing seeds. Let the kids decide the shapes in which they want to grow the plants. It could be anything ranging from simple square or circle to alphabets. They can also use plants with colorful flowers. In that case, collect seeds of plants with flower colors matching with the seven shades in the rainbow and grow them in a semi-circular shape.
You may also plan a movable garden on wheels. Get a wagon planter and provide your kids with soil and bedding plants of their choice. Plants like ‘tickle me’ will be much more interesting for smaller kids. Even herbs, like peppermint and basil are good choices for their unique scent.
For older kids, you may get some special cultivars that they may enjoy growing. You may opt for cultivars like blue potato, yellow tomato, purple beans, etc. You may also choose plants with edible fruits and vegetables. Kids may enjoy harvesting and consuming the fresh veggies and fruits grown by them.
Growing a windowsill garden is one of the best winter gardening activities for kids. This is the best time for painting terracotta plant pots and other such gardening accessories. You may also help the kids to make a terrarium or a bird feeder. Vermicomposting can also be done during this time.
The above said are only a few guidelines about gardening with children. You may use them as per the age of your child and his/her temperament. However, make sure to monitor these activities and help them, if needed. This is more applicable for younger kids. It will be better to go for plants that grow fast and seeds that are large and easy-growing. Go for organic gardening and avoid chemicals in any form. Ensure that the kids keep the work area clean and wash their hands with soap, once they finish their daily work in the garden. Never fail to encourage them for their efforts.

You may find a thousand other ways to make gardening fun-filled and interesting for your kids. Apart from instilling a love for nature, gardening helps kids to recognize the value of fresh fruits and vegetables. It can also be viewed as a form of exercise for kids, who would otherwise spend time watching television or sitting in front of a computer. So, let loose your creativity and come up with some unique gardening ideas that your kids will enjoy.

How to Build a Snowman

For people who live in cold countries where there is abundant snowfall during the winter months, building a snowman is a good pastime. Although snow restricts our options of moving around, it is the same snow that we can use to build a snowman in our yard.

Factors to Consider

The first and foremost aspect to consider for those who want to build a snowman is to make sure that the snow is of the right kind. It should be wet enough so that it can be easily packed. Test this by taking some snow in hand and making a ball out of it. The ball must stay together and not crumble easily.

One also needs to decide the size and the place where the snowman is supposed to stand. In case it is a large one and the place which is chosen for it is far off from where the balls are made, then carrying them over to the site will be a difficult task. Also, one needs to understand that the top and the middle balls of snow need to be lifted up and placed on top of the lower balls. Hence, the size of the snowman should be decided keeping in mind the number of people who are building it.

Steps
The Belly:
Take a small amount of snow and start making a ball by pressing it together with your hands. Once it becomes too large to be handled by you, place the ball on the ground and roll it around over the snow. As you roll the ball, more snow will stick to it. Press this snow firmly onto the ball. Roll the ball in all directions so that snow sticks to all sides and what you get is a good spherical ball that is equally round on all sides. This is the bottom potion of your snowman. Place this ball in a place where you want the snowman to stand. You definitely don’t want to shift the position of your entire snowman after it has been made. Scoop some snow out from the top in the center of this ball so that the next ball can be placed comfortably over this one, which will form the lowest portion of the snowman.
The Heart:
Now, make the middle portion of the snowman. This is as we call the “heart and soul” of the snowman. Start the same way as you did while making the lowest ball. Take some snow in hand and make a ball by it together. Now, roll the ball over in all direction and press the snow that accumulates around it, but remember that this ball has to be smaller than the lowest one, say about two-third the size of the lower ball. Also, be sure that the snow in this ball is clumped tightly together. You do not want the snowball to crumble when you are placing it over the other ball. Make a hollow at the top in the center as you had made in the previous ball. Now, gently place this middle ball over the hollowed area on the lowest ball. Put some more snow around the place where the two balls are in contact. Press the snow firmly and clean out the extra to give a clean look to the meeting edges of the two balls.
The Head:
This is the last ball of snow and has to be done the same way as the other two balls. It just has to be smaller than the middle ball that makes up the snowman. Place it on the scoop that is made on the top central portion of the middle ball and seal the joining place with some tightly-packed snow and remove the extra amount.
The Face:
Making a snowman is not just about piling one ball of snow on top of the other. Now that you have built your own snowman, how about giving it some identity? You can use coal, rocks, or even paper dishes (depending upon the size of the snowman) for the eyes. For the face, you can arrange pieces of coal, pebbles, or rocks into a smile. For the nose, the most common option is to use a carrot. Alternatively, one could also use a fir cone, tangerine, or anything else that you wish to choose. Only be careful that while inserting these objects the snow ball does not crumble.
The Arms:
Though some wish to leave their snowman without arms, one with its appendages looks more attractive. One can use sticks or even snow to make the arms. It is better to have the sticks slanting slightly upwards or downwards than sticking right out of the sides horizontally. In case you want your snowman to hold a broomstick, ensure that the end of the stick is buried a few inches below the snow. This is to ensure that it is not blown away by a strong gust of wind. Also, be careful while inserting the stick into your snowman. Just as with the nose, the snowball may crumble if the sticks are inserted in haste.
Accessories:
What about putting a muffler around the neck of your snowman? Not only would it give a look that it is ready to face the cold out there, but also break the monotony of color. Just ensure that you tie the muffler into a neat knot so that it stays where it is supposed to. You could also put some leafy branch of a tree as hair. If you are planning to provide your snowman with a hat, consider knit hats, as they are better options than top hats that tend to be blown away by wind if not secured. Scarves are also a good alternative to hats.
This was just one of the ways for those who want to know how to build a snowman. Alternatively, instead of using two balls of snow for the body, one could just make a single mound and place a round ball of snow on top of it for the head. As far as decorating and giving a real look to your snowman is concerned, the sky is the limit. Enjoy your winters holidays and build your own snowman!

How to Make Bubbles for Kids

Blowing bubbles is a fascination for every child. The inherent joy of seeing those bubbles rising in the air and filling the atmosphere is a treat to watch. Kids simply love it, and even adults won’t deny the fact that it is a real fun experience. However, parents often complain about the money their kids waste in blowing bubbles. Here’s how you can be frugal and yet creative, if you just give some thought to it.

How to Make Bubbles for Kids
You can use soap and detergents for this purpose.

With Soap Solution
Soap and detergents are an integral part of our household products. Kids would surely love the idea of making soap bubbles at home. Making bubbles with dish soap or shampoo is an interesting thing to learn. The steps have been mentioned below.
Select a container, in which you’ll prepare the soap solution. Ensure that the container has a lid.
Get some dish soap or shampoo.
Next, fill the container with water, and add some amount of dish soap or shampoo to it.
Stir this mixture, and tightly seal the container.
Before shaking the container vigorously, ensure that the lid is tightly closed.
Search for some wire, band, straws, etc. Clean them before using.
It is mandatory to stir the mixture properly, or else the solution won’t give you the desired results.
Dip the wand into the container, and blow into it.
Lo and behold! Now, you can blow bubbles into the air.

With Glycerin Solution
Glycerin is a relatively cheaper additive, and the bubbles can be much better and thicker. Now, let’s learn how to make bubbles with glycerin.
Gather up some soap, bowl, water, spoon, and thickening ingredients like glycerin.
Mix the dish soap or shampoo with water in the bowl. A suitable ratio of water and other ingredients is necessary so that at the end, the mixture works well. For instance, 1:1 soap to water ratio is best. You can try various combinations, and check which one works best for you.
Add glycerin to the solution. You can also add corn syrup, but be careful that the amount must be in proportion to the other ingredients.
Stir the solution gently, and mix it well.
Taking your container outdoors would help you achieve better results. Moreover, storing the solution for one day would give you much better bubbles.

Important Tips
In the quest to blow bubbles, kids tend to be careless, and end up doing something that makes them fall ill.
Bending the wand or the wire from one corner in a circular, heart, or triangle shape can help you get some good bubbles. Just bend your wire from one corner. Supervise the kids while they are doing this, to avoid them hurting themselves with the wire.
Distilled water shows better results than tap water.
Bubbles last longer during humid days.
Don’t let them drink the bubble solution. Be cautious, as this could be harmful to their health.
If you wish, add some food coloring material to make colored bubbles. Ensure that the coloring material is not harmful for kids.
Prefer baby shampoos over other shampoos and soaps, as they are meant for kids.
Prepare the above-mentioned solutions, and enjoy watching your children prance around the bubbles with glee.

How to Make Bubbles for Kids

Blowing bubbles is a fascination for every child. The inherent joy of seeing those bubbles rising in the air and filling the atmosphere is a treat to watch. Kids simply love it, and even adults won’t deny the fact that it is a real fun experience. However, parents often complain about the money their kids waste in blowing bubbles. Here’s how you can be frugal and yet creative, if you just give some thought to it.

How to Make Bubbles for Kids
You can use soap and detergents for this purpose.

With Soap Solution
Soap and detergents are an integral part of our household products. Kids would surely love the idea of making soap bubbles at home. Making bubbles with dish soap or shampoo is an interesting thing to learn. The steps have been mentioned below.
Select a container, in which you’ll prepare the soap solution. Ensure that the container has a lid.
Get some dish soap or shampoo.
Next, fill the container with water, and add some amount of dish soap or shampoo to it.
Stir this mixture, and tightly seal the container.
Before shaking the container vigorously, ensure that the lid is tightly closed.
Search for some wire, band, straws, etc. Clean them before using.
It is mandatory to stir the mixture properly, or else the solution won’t give you the desired results.
Dip the wand into the container, and blow into it.
Lo and behold! Now, you can blow bubbles into the air.

With Glycerin Solution
Glycerin is a relatively cheaper additive, and the bubbles can be much better and thicker. Now, let’s learn how to make bubbles with glycerin.
Gather up some soap, bowl, water, spoon, and thickening ingredients like glycerin.
Mix the dish soap or shampoo with water in the bowl. A suitable ratio of water and other ingredients is necessary so that at the end, the mixture works well. For instance, 1:1 soap to water ratio is best. You can try various combinations, and check which one works best for you.
Add glycerin to the solution. You can also add corn syrup, but be careful that the amount must be in proportion to the other ingredients.
Stir the solution gently, and mix it well.
Taking your container outdoors would help you achieve better results. Moreover, storing the solution for one day would give you much better bubbles.

Important Tips
In the quest to blow bubbles, kids tend to be careless, and end up doing something that makes them fall ill.
Bending the wand or the wire from one corner in a circular, heart, or triangle shape can help you get some good bubbles. Just bend your wire from one corner. Supervise the kids while they are doing this, to avoid them hurting themselves with the wire.
Distilled water shows better results than tap water.
Bubbles last longer during humid days.
Don’t let them drink the bubble solution. Be cautious, as this could be harmful to their health.
If you wish, add some food coloring material to make colored bubbles. Ensure that the coloring material is not harmful for kids.
Prefer baby shampoos over other shampoos and soaps, as they are meant for kids.
Prepare the above-mentioned solutions, and enjoy watching your children prance around the bubbles with glee.

Watercolor Techniques for Kids

“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”, was what Pablo Picasso had said about colors. Come to think of it, it is true, otherwise why would we associate green with envy or white with peace? Colors are an imperative part of our lives and this universe. Imagine if there were no colors, would a rose would have been a rose and a kingfisher without its striking blue have been the same? Great Painters have created magic with their colors and enthralled the world. Painting and drawing attributes a prime importance to colors. The amateurs normally start off with simple watercolor techniques and then graduate to advanced ones.

Easy Watercolor Techniques for Kids
Wet on Wet Technique:
Take a large piece of white paper and fold it into half. Leave one of the halves half dry and wet the other with a brush. Now, the children can experiment and play around with colors and see how the effect is different on both the halves. A dryer brush can also be used on both wet and dry sides of the paper. This is one of the best watercolor techniques to start off with.
Light Wash:
When you get a bit used to painting, you can do this. You have to do a ‘wash’. For this, you would have very little color on your brush and they are applied very lightly, with a lot of water. See if you can paint a scene with the help of light washes of watercolors. If you cannot see the figure or the painting properly, come back to it after it is dry. Use a dark marker or pen to highlight the finer details.
Blotting:
Paper napkins are not used only with regards to hygiene; they come in quite handy while painting with watercolors. Kids normally spill colors and create a mess, and napkins are real saviors in this situation. Other than that, they can also help you camouflage minor mistakes in the painting. They can be used to lighten dark colors or even blot away a color totally. It may seem flimsy, but it works.
Sticky Matters:
You can either paint tape or a watermelon or sapota seed and paint around it, as if you are drawing a tree with all its parts. Of course, do not forget that this should be in relation with the seed. As far as the tape is concerned, use it on the areas of the paper where you do not want the paint to go. In short, keep the paper plain there or block the other papers from blending into it. Try this with other watercolor techniques and you will have a fantastic time.
Blend the Color:
Blending the colors is one of the most important technique in watercolor painting. Trees and flowers can be effectively portrayed or ruined, depending on how you use it. Hence, while you check out the color palette, use the underside of the lid to mix and blend the colors, without altering the original colors. What makes this very useful is that the underside of the palette’s lid already has sections, which help you to mix colors properly.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need to Know Drawing Before I Paint?
Well, it is not exactly necessary to know how to draw before you paint. You can directly go on to painting. Drawing could give you a better hand control, but it is not a must know. Finally, the creation of art is important. How you reach there is inconsequential.
What Kind of Paint Should I Use?
Choose whatever medium you are comfortable with. Starting from the beginners’ media like watercolors or pastel colors, you can move on to acrylics, oils, and water-based oils.
Is Learning Color Theory Essential?
If you want to create dramatic and enthralling results with colors, you might need to know more about colors and their effects and how they are mixed. Do not let the theory intimidate you, just uncover the secrets of these colors.
Where can I Paint – On Paper or Canvas?
You can paint almost on any surface where the paint will stay and would not harm it. You can take your pick from paper, wall, wood, etc.
How Many Paint Brushes are Required?
There is no rule as to how many brushes you can use while painting; use as many as you want. But if you want to paint with oils, you should preferably have separate brushes for each color.
When do I Clean the Paint Brush?
Ideally, you should thoroughly clean the paint brushes after every painting session. If you have to replace them, do not fret.

Art Activities for Young Children

Art activities help children enhance their creativity and give them some change from their daily routine. The willingness to learn is very high in kids, as they are very excited to see new and interesting things. Many schools have made the participation in these activities compulsory and grades are given as per their performance. Here’s a look into some interesting ones that they can engage in.

Painting and Sketching
Painting and sketching are the best art activities for your little ones. There are many kids who are exceptionally brilliant in them. They can never be forgotten once learned with sincerity and interest. You need not spend a huge amount of money to learn them. Children should take part in inter-school competitions and also other major competitions to get a platform to display their unique skills. They should try to win the competition by doing their job with full spirit and high level of energy. Parents of talented artists and painters should consider the idea of organizing an exhibition, to encourage the child to take up the profession more sincerely and also to earn some money from the sold paintings. Sculpting is one of the most unique kid crafts which is loved by many kids.

Singing, Dancing and Theater
These are very popular activities for young children. Your child can join a coaching class to get himself/herself acquainted with these forms of arts. Getting their basics right is important so that they do not face any problems in learning the advanced concepts in the chosen field. Even if your child joins a coaching class, his/her progress in developing the skills will largely be influenced by his/her way of perceiving things, dedication, and will power to emerge victorious by beating all the odds and difficulties. Starting early always helps as one can improvise on the mistakes done and try not to repeat them again, as this is the only way of surviving in the tough competitive world. There are innumerable famous and genius singers and musicians who had taken up music as their career, quite early in their lives. These forms of arts can be practiced and taken up by both- girls and boys as there is no gender bias here. If your child has good emoting skills, he/she can also take part in different theater workshops and plays.

Some More Art Activities for Kids
Decorating rooms, preparing attractive and colorful greeting cards, scrap-booking, preparing nice paper and cardboard items are some more art activities for young children. You can do them with a group of children so that you get some good company and finish your task faster. Some kids can practice photography under the able guidance of an expert photographer. You can make Christmas gifts like Santa hats, packing gifts, etc.

The above-mentioned activities will make your child very smart and confident. As a parent, you should avoid forcing your child to take up arts and crafts of your choice and give him/her complete freedom to do what he likes.

Memory Games for Children

Engaging children in games and activities where they get to improve their memory skills and concentration is a wonderful and positive action towards their future. These games are full of fun and perfect not only for the children, but for adults as well. They can be a perfect recreation activity that has a little bit of educational undertone. You can use playing cards, puzzles, or toys for playing such games.

Fun Games for Children

Some of the most common games include memory test, concentration, Chinese whispers, word associations, mismatches, and communication; and that’s what we will do here today. For the purpose of this article, we have compiled some interesting and thought-provoking games for everyone to take part in.

Concentrate, Like There’s No Tomorrow
You can play the concentration game using a deck of 52 playing cards. Match up the pairs by memorizing the location of each card.

Let’s Test Your Memory
The memory test can be played with a single child or a group of kids using a pen and a paper. Arrange a tray with a selection of 5 – 20 common objects, such as pencil, key, spoon, button, coin, etc. Cover this tray with a cloth before you bring it in the room. Let the kids have a view of the objects for 1 – 2 minutes and then cover it again. Ask the children to write down the list of objects that they have seen. A child writing the longest list from his/her memory is declared winner of the game. When you are playing individually, you can change the game by removing one object and asking the child to identify which object is removed.

Chinese Whispers
The kids are asked to sit in a line or a circle so that they can whisper a word or phrase to the person sitting next to them. The first player is given a short phrase that he/she whispers to the neighbor in a low voice. The neighbor then passes the message through the whispers. The game continues until the message is announced by the last player. The message received by the final player is often quite different from the original message. This game has no objective and no winner. It offers a good exercise to judge the memory, listening capacity, and power of gossip.

Exchange of Associated Words
Word association is somewhat similar to Chinese Whispers, but spoken aloud. The children are asked to sit in a circle. The first child starts by saying any sentence in the story. The next child repeats the sentence and adds some information to that sentence. In this way, the kids continue to remember the previous sentences and build up a story with their additions. This game can be altered by working through the matching items or alphabets to the first letter to each child’s name. This game not only improves the memory, but also encourages the child to be creative in story-telling.

Mismatched Objects
Divide a small group of kids into two teams. One team goes out of room, while the other team does the mismatching by changing the objects in that room. After 3 minutes, the first team is allowed to enter the room. They are given one minute to spot the mismatches. The points are given on the basis of identification of mismatches. The team having the highest score is declared the winner.

Communication is Key
You can choose to play this game indoors or outdoors. It tests their listening and communicating skills. The children are given a plastic container, filled with exactly the same Lego blocks. They are allowed to sit back-to-back; one is named a caller and the other is a listener. The caller explains the listener about how to put together the pieces. The listener makes sure about what he/she has understood. Once all the pieces have been used, the caller and the listener compare the structures to confirm about their communication. This game can also be played with felt and felt board, or paper and pen.

Memory games offer an opportunity to exercise their brains and help to improve their memory as well as their language and concentration skills.