We are very keen that the garden will be 'for everyone to enjoy' - including (especially!) children and young people.
We have been delighted that so many kids of all ages, from small babies, have been enjoying the space. They seem to like:
- Climbing on and up everything possible.
- Collecting seeds.
- Chasing people and things.
- Cycling around the tarmac path.
- Digging in bare earth - but please not in the meadow beds. We have a worm digging bed now.
- Drawing with chalks on the tarmac path.
- Hitting things with sticks (perhaps we can start making things with sticks too?).
- Hunting for strawberries.
- Jumping from anything to anything, including the stepping stones in the flower beds.
- Learning about compost and leaf mould.
- Looking for bees and bee nests.
- Looking for mini-beasts, especially chasing crickets.
- Mulching beds.
- Picking blackberries.
- Picking flowers, which we encourage - as long as we can't tell they have been picked (when there are lots of them).
- Planting seeds and plants.
- Playing hide and seek (IT, tag).
- Playing with dogs.
- Pulling up thistles.
- Running around.
- Scooting around the tarmac path.
- Smelling herbs and guessing what they are.
- Spending time with their friends and families.
- Taking cuttings of plants.
- Watching salad and fruit grow.
- Watering thirsty plants.
Some of the adults are enjoying some of these things too.
A balance between people and nature
In 2017, the garden has an informal feel, with lots of untidy places where kids can explore and move things about. We don't want it to become too tidy and precious but need it to be safe. Where we are creating habitats for wildlife - the creatures need to be confident they won't be crushed underfoot or flung around (it has happened!).
So, if you are visiting the garden with children, please keep a close eye on them - for their safety and that of any wildlife.
Also, when the garden volunteers are working - Sunday and Monday afternoons - please keep an extra eye on children so they don't injure themselves on any tools left unattended. This probably isn't the best time to bring lots of children to the garden, for example for a party.
We hope, in time, we may be able to offer more to young people perhaps:
- One or more beehives, with observation windows.
- Events of interest to children and young people. Maybe including making temporary dens and bird hives for hiding and bird spotting.
- Games to borrow to play - like boules (there is a set in the club hut) and table tennis (there is a table in the park and bats/balls in the club hut).
- Fruit and veg to pick informally or invited in a group. We have planted some veg, strawberries, rhubarb and a soft fruit aisle.
- Places to climb about informally that are also safe.
- Primary science 'habitats', including long grass, woodpiles, and a nature pond.
- Seating for children.
Some of these are still under discussion, some are in the queue of things to do, and some need further resources. Let us know if you can take responsibility for organising any of these or would like to collaborate with us.
The resources and facilities in the garden are a bit restricted at the moment but should improve soon, especially when we have a new pavilion and new toilets across the park (Q4 2017). The toilets are locked at 7pm in the Summer.
If you contact us, we might be able to meet you there and open the club hut so you can have access to a kettle - but we are a very small group of volunteers and don't have a massive amount of spare time.