Get out and about they said, it will do you good they said… Well, while I think we can all agree that fresh air is a good thing for mini-monsters it can be hard to do as the days get colder, darker and wetter. Even the most adventurous little ones become less enthused when the rain starts coming at them horizontally, and to be fair, there are only so many places in the house to hang damp coats and dry out wet trainers before this particular monster mummy goes full-scale Hulk.
Have you ever considered getting your dose of fresh air while being safely under cover? Botanical gardens might not initially seem like the best location to take kids to let off steam but on the other hand, large sections of them are indoors and they are packed full of fascinating sites and specimens. At the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, families can check out Explorer Backpacks that are crammed with activities to help get the most from your visit. The backpacks are themed by kid-friendly topics like Amazing Plants! and Bugs and Beasties! and include activity sheets, crayons and field equipment such as binoculars, tape measures and bug pots to have your mini-monsters feeling like botanists and entomologists in no time.
If you want to try a visit to a botanical garden go prepared with some pre-planned activities in case your garden of choice is not as child-friendly as the one we went to.
- Bring a favourite story alive by having story time in the gardens; look for books that are set in jungles or forests and don’t just stay in one spot for the whole story. If your child can be somewhat hesitant to stay active, try leading them through the garden, one page of the story at a time.
- Bring a sketch pad, crayons and pencils with you for your child to draw some of the plants you discover. Take it up a notch by giving each page of the sketch pad a title like; Flower with blue and green, Fruit tree or Leaf that looks like something else. This approach can give your child a more defined sense of purposed and is a good way of encouraging creative thinking by contrasting abstract concepts (e.g a leaf that looks happy) with observation skills (e.g a flower with 5 petals).
However, you decide to get out and about, indoors or out, pack a picnic! A hangry mini-monster will derail any day out, no matter where you are!