Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Garden Fun

It was a glorious day today, so we spent most of it in the garden :)  We have decided that we want to build a bug hotel, so we got outside first of all to see what we could collect.  We made a good start with plant pots, pine cones, stones, leafy cuttings, and LOTS of sticks!  We really wanted some bamboo canes as well for ladybirds to hide in, so as we needed to go to the garden centre anyway, we thought might get a couple there - but sadly they refused to sell us individual canes - we would have had to buy a pack of ten 7ft canes for £5!  Needless to say, we came away without bamboo... we'll just keep putting the word out there, and see if anyone we know has any to spare!  Actually, we've posted a 'wanted' on our local Freegle online site.  If you've never heard of Freegle (also known as 'Freecycle'), I can't recommend them highly enough.  It's run by Yahoo so is free to sign up to, and as a member you can offer your unwanted goods to other members, or you can post a 'wanted' notice for anything that you need that you think someone else might feasibly have to spare.  It's just a great way of recycling within the community, and saves money too!  So here's hoping that someone local to us has some unwanted bamboo canes :)  The garden centre wasn't totally a waste of time though - we got a couple of other bits that we needed, and we had a bit of impromptu science while we were there.  Eldest and Middle were running around between the ornaments (Youngest had asked to go in the trolley, much to my shock and relief!) and they particularly loved stroking the large smooth stone globes.  When they stroked the black ones they found they were almost too hot to touch, but were surprised at how cool the white ones were in comparison.  Cue Mummy asking why they thought it might be, and chatting about which colours absorb more light, energy etc... we've only been home edding a couple of months, but I'm glad I'm getting better at spotting the learning opportunities :)
Anyway, when we got back from the garden centre (sadly without bamboo), we did a bit of gardening.  We had bought some lavender to go outside the front door, and we used some pansies that we already had to go in pots with the lavender, to make the front of the house look and smell pretty!  Incidentally, we found a lovely resource online for Easy plants to grow with children: I don't know about the children, I need them to be pretty easy too as I'm not really a gardener, I just believe the garden is a great place for learning :)  We also potted on some of the little seedlings that had grown from the seeds planted ages ago in our blogged-about nature non-lessons.  To be honest, not many of them grew, so after we potted the seedlings on today, we planted some more carrot seeds and two avocado stones left over from Daddy's lunch recently - no idea if they'll grow, but that's the fun of experimenting!  Eldest was most keen on today's gardening, but Middle and Youngest enjoyed it too... not least because they got to play with trowels, dirt and water!
Once that was done it was time for lunch, which we ate while we watched a DVD from a set that a lovely Home Ed friend had brought over.  The DVDs are called Mathtacular (an American product), and athough Eldest was pretty unimpressed, all three boys sat and watched for a good half an hour.  It was most appropriate viewing for Middle, really, and the presenter explains things really clearly, so I think we'll use it again - Middle is such a visual learner, and he definitely learned some new things while watching :)
After lunch, we finished our potting, and made a start on our bug hotel.  It's not complete yet, but this is what we have so far (Grampie is going to help build a bit more of a frame - and of course there will hopefully be the addition of some bamboo tubes too, amongst other bits)...

That done, we finally made it to the barbers - and I have to say it was SO MUCH nicer an experience that last time we went, during the school Easter holidays... yet another Home Ed benefit (maybe I should write a list): you can have haircuts during the quiet spells when everyone else is at work/ school - hooray for no queues!

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