After the madness of Christmas, you may find that the family weekends feel less frantic. But don’t let family time fall flat. Outside, there’s plenty to be excited about. Your patio is the perfect place for mid-winter amusements so read on for ways in which you can get active this winter.
It’s pretty cold out there, so bundle everyone up in their coats and get some fresh air. Kids love playing in the garden during summer to let their imaginations run wild and winter games work just as well. With suitable footwear, you can play hide and seek, go on a treasure hunt, run a ‘flower find’ or a plant identification competition—activities like this are both fun and informative. If you’re finding that the days have grown short and you’ve lost the light, then invest in some outdoor lighting and make your outdoor spaces more accessible for family fun—you won’t regret it! With ample lighting you won’t be restricted to only venturing out in the daylight. Fairy lights are a cost-effective, quick way of transforming your garden at night. Strewn over bushes or trailing down fences, they’ll make a feature of any gloomy areas and have a way of drawing everyone outside for garden antics.
For a family pastime which is truly magical, book in time to do some star gazing. Huddle under a blanket and look up at the heavens! Kids love hearing about the different star formations and solar systems. Lay on your warm and comfortable outdoor sofa and enjoy the calm night sky. Of course, a great way to stay warm is to invest in an outdoor heater or fire pit. Although, if you want a fire pit with a difference then get an outdoor set with an inlayed grill. Who says you need to wait for Spring to start enjoying the garden with the family? Enjoy crisp nights with roasted marshmallows and grilled sandwiches. Or, if you’re looking for a fun activity for a sunny winter’s day, have your succulent Sunday roast cooked straight from the grill—what could be better.
For flowers to brighten up you garden, look to pansies and cyclamen for hardy flowers which will provide some winter colour. I love red foliage scattered about the patio so try Scarlet Dogwood for a vibrant addition. An unforgettable feature for the kids of course is anything water related. Ponds can be beautiful but, if you have small kids, they can pose a danger so why not look to getting a water feature. I love these in winter because they also provide a water source for the birds. In fact, your garden wildlife is a great way to get the kids outside. A bug hotel will give garden pollinators like bees and ladybirds with a winter habitat and will provide your plants a natural pest patrol because they eat a lot of garden pests. So, involve the kids with buying, siting and monitoring your new bug hotels. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of your garden’s delicate ecosystem. If bugs aren’t your thing, then the RSPB’s garden birdwatch is not one to miss. From 27-29th January you and the kids can identify the birds in your garden and I like to make it into a game to see which of my kids can spot the most!
Whatever you decide, be creative. Your outside spaces have so much to give—even now the days are short. Getting outside and preparing your patio for frequent use is a fantastic way to add a little workout to your week, for more information on gardening jobs to help fitness, read my blog. There are many reasons to make a switch from inside activities to getting active outside and you won’t regret making these family opportunities part of your weekly winter routine.