With the weather warming comes the opportunity to till the soil and begin planting the garden. Here are some fun ideas that also pass for fun places for the kids to play.
A neat jungle adventure for kids is right in their own backyard. Green bean tents, sweet pea tepees, tomato tunnels - all imaginative adventures to nibble on. Go on outside and play in the veggies, kids.Miniature pumpkins, pole beans and any of the varieties of climbing plants and vines can be planted at the sides and base of frame structures. If the chosen plant varieties are those that grow fruit and vegetables, children have the added bonus of being able to pick and eat the foods growing on the play places. The tepees and tunnels can be any size and shape as long as an open entrance and open exit are provided. Use your imagination. Variations can include the following:
- TEPEE: Seven or eight bamboo poles can be used as the basic frame. Cut all the poles the same length. The longer they are, the more they can be spread out at the base and the larger the circle forming the tepee will be.
Tie the poles together at the top about six inches down the pole ends so that you have a bundle of poles. Use very heavy twine or lightweight rope for tying. Spread the bottom of the poles to form a circle. The basic shape is that of a free-standing funnel that is turned upside down. The bottom of the poles forms almost a 45-degree angle from the top. There will be open spaces between the poles.
Weave heavy twine back and forth through the spaces to provide support for the climbing plants you choose to plant around the base of the tepee. As the plants grow, the bamboo tepee frame will become a covered, secluded, fun place for the kids to play.
- IGLOO: Cut two 2x4s into lengths of 3 feet to 5 feet, depending on the length you want the igloo to be. Use a piece of chicken wire that is the length of the 2x4s and wide enough to round up to the height you want the igloo to have. Notice that the height of the igloo can also be varied by moving the 2x4s farther apart or closer together.
Fasten the wire to the wood with staple nails. Planting climbing plants along the base of the 2x4s and let the foliage cover the igloo. This design is especially fun for children because the open ends let them use it as a tunnel.
- A-FRAME: Use 2x2 soft pine or fir strips. Cut three pieces into equal lengths of 3 feet to 5 feet, depending upon the length you want the finished product to be. Cut six short pieces of equal length to form the triangles for the front and back of the house. The triangles, when finished, need to be large enough for your child to crawl through. Nail the short pieces together to make the two triangles. Nail one end of each long piece to each angle on a triangle. Repeat with the other end. The A-frame should be steady and firm. Cover it with nylon netting. Let the plants grow up and over the frame to cover it and let the kids have a fun and imaginative play space.