It's widely known that spending time in the natural outdoor environment has a positive impact on a child's holistic development. Obviously, the ideal outdoor areas to explore are natural landscapes which offer freedom to roam & discover, but small havens can be created by your backdoor with just a little imagination. Creating space for wildlife in your backyard doesn't have to be a big project, it can be a simple inexpensive activity, which needn't take up large areas of your garden either.
This mini nature garden was simple to create & now provides a space for exploration, discovery & wonder.
We used a small section of our back garden for our mini nature garden. To create it we made
a circular shape in the grass with the lawnmower & cut the rest of the grass around it as normal. The circle wasn't huge, just big enough for Minnie to sit in or lie down in. Our circle of uncut grass quickly began to grow & soon dandelions & other wildflowers appeared amongst the growing grass. (If you want a wider selection of flowers just sprinkle over a few wildflower seeds.)
A week or so later we cut the grass again & left the circle of grass as it was. By now Minnie was noticing the insects that were benefiting from her mini nature space.
The wild clover that was growing among the grass was perfect for attracting bees, & Minnie was able to closely observe them hovering from plant to plant collecting pollen. She was captivated by their movements & her observations sparked endless questions. Where do bees live? Why do they like pollen & where do they take it to? Why do bees buzz? I wonder where they're going next... I wonder what it's like to be a bee... I wonder what it's like to have wings...
A number of other insects were attracted to the mini nature garden including butterflies, moths, crickets & ladybirds. The dandelions had grown beautifully & were not only providing an ideal spot for wildlife, but also a great variety of textures to explore.
Minnie loved sitting in the middle of the circle, carefully examining the dandelion seed heads before blowing them & watching the seeds float up across the garden. I wonder how high they'll fly... I wonder where they'll land...
Unexpected beauty appeared & offered more colour & shapes to discover.
Minnie had ownership of this space, it was hers to explore & play in as she wished. The size was ideal for her to feel secure, & provided another world for her to immerse herself in. It's been lovely to hear her singing & chatting to herself, & observing her imaginative play as she's explored the circle. Unsurprisingly it wasn't long before the space evolved into a fairy garden with fairies & a fairy queen being discovered alongside elves & (imaginary) frogs! But my favourite play scene of Minnie's had to be this one with a gnome & his house (ceramic toadstool) in a magic forest!
Although big enough for her to explore, the circular nature garden hasn't taken over the rest of our backyard, & has become another feature for friends to wonder at when they visit!
This small natural area has provided space for endless discoveries & play opportunities, as well as another space for minibeasts to explore. Could you create something similar in your backyard?