In order to tackle these garden activities, all you’ll need is an outdoor space, access to the internet and a few common household products.
1. Conduct a grass survey
A grass survey can show you how many species of plants you have in your lawn. First, mark out one square meter of your lawn or the grass in your local outdoor space. Then, write down all the different plants you see in this area. You might see daisies, dandelions or clover, for example. If you get stuck on species identification, this page may help you to work out what you’ve spotted.
Once you have all of the names of the plants in a list, use the internet to find out a few interesting facts about each one. For example, if Creeping Buttercup grows in your lawn, that means your soil is damp.
2. Build a den
All you need is anything you have to hand plus a little imagination. You could be build a fort or a fairytale castle with any manner of materials – from sticks to old sheets.
3. Tree count and identification
This can either be done in a garden or from a window or balcony that overlooks trees. Firstly, count all of the trees in sight, and then identify the species of each one by finding an identification guide on the internet.
4. Treasure hunt
Choose some treasure (a packet of seeds or a favoured snack, for example) and hide it around the garden for the kids to find. Just make sure you have some good hiding places!
5. Bug identification
Look for bugs in the garden. Try under pots, leafs and all of the more secluded places. After 15 minutes, write down the names of the bugs you saw. Then, find out all about them and share the facts you have learned.
6. Have a picnic
Spread a blanket out and have a picnic in the garden or your local green space. Take in all the wonderful sites and sounds of outdoors.
7. Bird spotting
Over the course of one hour, note down the names of birds that you see. Once you have done so, look up the birds on the internet and find out all about them. Binoculars optional.
8. Turn a patch of lawn into a wildflower meadow
Simply dig up the turf in your chosen area and turn it upside down. Dig it over until you have a good tilth and sow some wildflower seed in it. Over the next month you can watch your mini meadow coming to life.
9. Make a stick pile for bugs
Assemble sticks in a pile in the corner of the garden. This will become a wonderful home for all the wonderful local bug residents and may even help you with your bug count.
10. Make a mini pond
Use a washing up bowl to create a home for newts, frogs and toads. This will double up as a water source for other animals such as birds. Make sure you give small amphibians somewhere to climb in and out from by making a slope to one side. Finally, add some stones to your mini pond.
11. Flower facts
Go outside and write down the names of the flowers that you spot. Search for them on the internet and see what interesting facts you can find out.
12. Pick some flowers for a posy
You can pick flowers from the garden such as daffodils, or even dandelions or daisies from the lawn. This will make a lovely posy for the kitchen windowsill.
13. Make a hedgehog door
Cut a small hole or gap of 15x15cm in the garden fence. This will mean little hedgehogs can come in and out.
14. Make a hedgehog house
Find a large wooden box and turn it upside down. Cut a door of 15x15cm into the front of the box, making sure you don’t leave sharp edges. Next, place it in a quiet place in the garden and fill it with dry leaves, straw or hay.
15. Look at the stars
This is a lovely thing to do if you wrap up warm. It’s still a little chilly in the evenings. Simply go outside and look up to see if you can spot any of the constellations.
To find out more about John’s garden at Fairlight Hall, visit fairlighthall.co.uk.