This week it’s Part 9 in our 33 Things To Do Before You’re 10 series. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and now is the chance to let us know how you got on. What did you try out? What went well? What didn’t? Which ones do you remember doing as a child?
Part 9’s activities are…
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY 25: FEED A FARM ANIMAL
Most children love animals because they are fun to play with, interesting to watch and usually quite cute and cuddly (depending on the animal!). Other children might be quite nervous around them particularly if they have come across intimidating dogs or other animals that have been unpredictable. If they’re the latter then going to a petting zoo could be a great way to build their confidence and if they already love animals then this activity is for them. Obviously we never grow out of our animal loving ways so I’m sure this is one parents and older children or teenagers will enjoy too!
Have a look online or ask around to find out where your local petting zoo is and get out at the weekend or in the holidays to explore. Animals that are usually available to feed are goats, horses, sheep and occasionally pigs! Most petting zoos will have signage and washroom facilities reminding you to wash your hands afterwards, but also remind your children that when they’ve started petting or feeding the animals not to put their hands on their face or round their mouths to prevent them picking up any germs.
Particularly with younger children, make sure you supervise them closely as an excited goat can start nibbling at little fingers or jump up if your child is holding a bag of food. You may want to take the lead and show them exactly how to do it. If an animal does get a bit too excited and jump up or scares your child, remember to react calmly and explain that the animal wasn’t trying to be scary, he just doesn’t realise what he’s doing! That way you’ll be help your child to overcome any nerves and teach them that sometimes animals can be surprising in the way they behave!
If you’re feeding horses supervision is definitely needed, especially if there is no fencing between you and the horses. Teach your child to keep their palm completely flat when feeding them and make sure their fingers and thumbs don’t stick up. My thumb has been the victim of mistaken identity in the past when a Shetland Pony thought it was a carrot. A fairly painful tug of war commenced as the pony was very reluctant to give up what he thought was a tasty carrot!
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY 26: GROW SOME CRESS ON THE WINDOWSILL
Cress is a simple and quick little salad you can grow in your kitchen. Your kids will love watching the progress as it turns from seed to sprout. It’s low maintenance and they’ll get to eat it in a healthy lunch or dinner once it’s ready. It also teaches children about where our food comes from. If you decide to try this out remember to explain to them what’s happening as it grows, how the water and the soil feeds the seeds to help them grow. Go into more detail for older children and keep it simple for little ones.
Follow the steps below to grow your cress!
- Pick up some seeds at the local garden centre or supermarket. They are usually very cheap.
- Find a container to grow the seeds in. If you use eggs, wash out some shell halves and get your children to draw a face on them. When you grow the cress inside, it looks like hair sprouting out of the open end of the shell. Alternatively a shallow tray without holes in it will work well too.
- If you’re growing the cress in the eggshells, get some cotton wool balls and lightly fill the shell with moist cotton wool. If you’re growing it in a shallow tray take some kitchen roll and make it about four layers deep, make sure it’s thoroughly moistened and put into the bottom of the tray.
- Sprinkle the cress seeds across the top of the kitchen roll or cotton wool.
- Keep the cotton wool or kitchen roll moist and check the progress of the seeds each day! If you’re lucky, a week later it should be nearly grown.
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY 27: CAMP OUT IN THE GARDEN
I realise it’s January and it will be far too cold to camp out overnight, but in the Summer why not give your children their first camping experience by letting them camp out in the back garden? Use your own discretion to decide whether they are ready for it. The garden is a great, safe place for kids to camp, but gives them the excitement of being unattended for the night. I remember this being really exciting when I was a kid.
There are plenty of cheap and fun looking tents available these days and because of the popularity of festivals these days you can usually pick up a tent at the supermarket in spring or summer and sometimes for under £20.00. Here is a quick check list of things they will need:
- Sleeping Bag
- Torch and/or lamp
- Battery radio or CD/MP3 Player with speakers
- Mobile phone (if they’re a bit nervous, this might reassure them if they can call you in the house at any time)
This would also make a great birthday treat with games in the garden in the evening and having a few friends over who bring tents too. They could make their own mini festival! If you are able to supervise and really want to make it special, how about making a campfire, lighting some lanterns and toasting marshmallows once it gets dark. Singing songs or playing charades are great things to do round the fire and can make the dark more fun and less scary! All this talk of camping is making me want to do this myself.
If you missed out on the last seven parts of this blog series, you can read them all here. See you for the penultimate part next month!