Looking for ways to keep the kids happy and chilled out during the summer holidays?
Nicky Roeber, an online horticultural expert with Wyevale Garden Centres, shares with us how to build a zen den that will keep the kids busy all summer long.
We all know that we should be encouraging our kids to spend less time indoors and more time out in the garden. But with so many electronic gadgets and gizmos to keep them distracted, they sometimes need a little encouragement to get off the sofa and out enjoying the fresh air. This summer, why not consider creating a garden zen den, where your kids will have their very own place to read, relax, or just enjoy being outside?
With the weather warming up, and the summer holidays just a couple of months away, it’s the perfect time to start work on the garden. Here are my three top tips for creating a fun, relaxing hideaway that your kids will love spending time in.
Pick the perfect spot
Choose the location of your zen den carefully. Ideally, you want an out-of-the way place where your kids will be free to read, play or relax in peace, away from the sounds and distractions of the house or any neighbours. You’ll also need to think about where in your garden gets the most and the least sunlight at different times of the day: you don’t want the den to be too warm to sit in during the hottest summer days, after all.
Provide some shelter and privacy
Shelter is essential for outdoor play during the summer months, when little ones need extra protection from the sun. Plus, it will give them some space to be themselves and get a bit of peace and quiet for reading or relaxing.
With a little childlike imagination, a simple structure can become anything your kids want it to be, so don’t worry if you don’t have room for an elaborate shelter. Your den could be a tent, tipi, playhouse, or even an arbour or summer house, depending on your budget and how much space you’ve got to work with. If you need a den that can easily be moved or disassembled, try creating a circular structure using a flexible willow or bamboo screen and draping a piece of canvas across the top.
Make it cosy with outdoor furnishings and accessories
No zen den would be complete without some comfy cushions and a blanket or two. As any parent knows, adventures in the garden have a tendency to get a little messy, so look for cushions in weatherproof fabrics. These will be more resistant to any grass stains, mud or accidental spillages they might encounter.
It’s also worth considering adding accessories that will bring extra functionality to your den. For instance, if the space in your den will allow for it, you could add a few pieces of kid’s furniture, like a table and chair, for chilled-out colouring sessions. If you’ve got very young children, you could even try turning an enclosed den into a ball pit — just add some plastic play balls, and let the fun begin!
During the summer holidays, children can really benefit from having somewhere to escape to, so it’s a great idea to create a special place in the garden that’s just for them. Take my tips on board, and your kids will soon have a relaxing zen den that’s the envy of all their friends.