Grow a herb garden
Growing your own food is a rewarding project at any age, and a simple kitchen herb garden is a great place for kids to start. You only need a sunny windowsill and a few basics to begin.
Easy herbs for kids
The easiest herbs to grow are perennials, which keep growing throughout the year and beyond. You can buy these in pots – such as rosemary, mint and oregano – or if you’d like to grow from seed, then chives are a fast-growing option with a kid-friendly mild onion flavour.
Annual herbs complete their life cycle in a season and can be grown from seed, but will require warmer temperatures and have the potential to bolt (or flower) if not watered regularly or given too much sun. Parsley, coriander and basil are good annual herbs for novice gardeners.
You will need:
- A hand trowel, if you have one
- Small pots (you can use old yogurt pots or other containers – simply add drainage holes)
- Peat-free, multi-purpose compost
- Seeds or potted herbs
Plant your herbs
1. First, fill your container with compost and press it down gently to remove air holes. Water, then allow to drain.
2. Scatter a few seeds on the surface. Sprinkle over a thin layer of compost.
3. Place on a windowsill and wait for the herbs to sprout up. After this, you’ll need to water the compost whenever it’s dry – about once a week. When your herbs have grown to around 10cm tall, you can move them into bigger pots or move them outside.
Sensory play ideas
Allowing children the freedom to be messy is not only good fun, it also helps develop their motor skills. Kids can try these tactile activities with a little grown-up supervision.
1. Fun with foam
Use an electric whisk to mix bubble bath and water in a bowl with a few drops of food colouring. Whisk until you have foam that holds its shape, then repeat to make as many colours as you like. Kids will love playing with rainbow foam in the garden on a sunny day.
2. Colourful spaghetti
Cook some spaghetti following pack instructions, then divide between bowls and mix a different food colouring into each. Soon you’ll have a whole rainbow of squidgy ‘worms’ for toddlers to play with.
3. Ice block excavation
Freeze small plastic toys inside an ice block for kids to ‘excavate’. Place a few toys in the base of a container, then fill partially with water and freeze. Repeat until full. Give kids’ tools or cutlery and help them bash into the ice.
Easy, budget-friendly treats for kids
Who says cereal is just for breakfast? Make these moreish milk ice lollies flavoured with honey nut cornflakes – they’ll go down a storm with kids.
A combination of orange, satsuma and carrot make these refreshing lollies a low-calorie treat. They’re also vegan, gluten-free and sure to be a hit with kids!
Make these easy chocolate chip muffins with kids over the weekend or school holidays. They take just 15 minutes prep and are a guaranteed family favourite.
Make this cornflake cake for a fabulously easy family dessert that uses simple ingredients. With a pastry case and jam base, it’s delicious served with custard.
Tips for making ice lollies
- Use fruit juices, yogurt, cordials or blended fruit and veg, such as avocado, for the base. For creamier results, mix yogurt with the fruit.
- For a healthy alternative, you can freeze watermelon slices.
- Summer berries, bananas, apples, oranges, kiwis, mangoes and pineapple all freeze well.
- If you don’t have moulds, use clean yogurt pots, large ice cube trays or hollowed-out oranges.
- No lolly sticks? Try setting a teaspoon in each lolly instead – you can then wash and use them again.