Spending time in the garden is great, but it’s not just a place for kicking a ball and reading a book. It’s also the ideal location for getting closer to nature, where kids can enjoy wildlife-focused fun. Discover low-cost wildlife garden activities that involve designing and building worthwhile projects together, developing important skills, and creating memories.
Fun, affordable garden wildlife activities
1. Make a birdhouse
A birdhouse is an excellent project that will last many years. Either buy a kit, which will contain pre-cut pieces, or make it from scratch to develop important DIY skills. For the safety of the birds, it’s best to buy untreated timber and then apply a water-based wood stain. You can put it together with nails or screws, or simply by using one of the strong glues from Pattex Adhesives.
2. Build a bug hotel
A bug hotel is a super fun project, especially for kids who love using tools and prefer to apply their own ideas rather than follow a strict design. The main space can be made with pieces of untreated timber. You then need to create a series of spaces within the main framework, in a range of shapes and sizes. Create tunnels with items such as bamboo canes, holed bricks, and logs with holes drilled into them. Fill spaces with mud, straw, pinecones, dried grass, and bark. Let your kids get creative, but suggest they do a bit of research about different bugs and what sorts of habitats they like.
3. Create a pond
A small, shallow pond is a safe and easy way to attract some really exciting animals into your garden. You can do this for less by using an old washing-up bowl, sink, or storage box. Start by choosing a shady spot and then digging a space to fit the container. If the bowl has a hole, simply lay a sheet of pond liner inside. Then insert the bowl into the space, packing in the soil to the sides. Finish the top with an edge of stones, which will prevent soil from spilling into the pond.
Next, it’s the fun bit. Let your child choose what goes into the pond, but ideally start with a layer of gravel. Let them add rocks, stones, and pond plants (you can get these from a garden centre for a few dollars). According to the Nature Conservancy, a pond should be regularly topped up with fresh clean water.
4. Sow a bee and butterfly-friendly garden
Both bees and butterflies are in decline, and this is seriously bad news. Bees especially are a critical part of our ecosystem and humans simply can’t survive without them. By creating a garden that attracts and feeds bees, your child will be doing something vitally important. Whilst bees and butterflies are largely attracted to different kinds of flowers, it is possible to create a flower bed that offers something for everyone. It doesn’t have to be huge, but make sure you choose a part of the garden that enjoys both sun and shade.
Pick flowers like marigolds, sunflowers, zinnia, and asylum. You can even add herbs like rosemary and thyme. Children will enjoy the speed and success of herbs, but will need patience for the flowers! Like most of these activities, the best time to make your bee and butterfly garden is early spring (September). This is also a good time of year to start your edible garden.
5. Garden wildlife activities for younger children
If your kids aren’t ready to use tools yet, or you want something a bit less labor-intensive. Try some of our garden craft ideas. Even more easy garden activities include birdseed fat balls, sowing sunflower seeds, painting stones, or making a fairy garden.
These garden wildlife activities will cost you next to nothing, but all offer real value to your garden and those who live there. They’re all great ways to spend time together outdoors, whilst passing on essential life skills.