Little Bear is very much an outdoorsy kinda guy, but he has wilted in the recent hot weather. His usual running around, digging and rolling on the grass has been prevented partly by the lack of shade in our garden, and because he simply doesn’t like to get too hot. At last a little coolness, though, and I persuaded him to try something new: a miniature garden.
I can remember making little gardens as a child myself, scrambling over mum’s rockery at home, or building little huts for snails at my grandparents’ house. I would make up stories as I went, imagining all sorts of romantic tales of princes and princesses, wizards and fairies, and a few about escapee snails. I was reminded of those long gone days, though, by a post on one of my favourite blogs: The Imagination Tree. Have a look at what they did here: Making a Fairy Garden
Little Bear is not keen on fairies, however. I think he thinks they might sting him, or something. In any case, mention of fairies does not usually go down well. So we made a garden for Zebra.
I put Teddy Bear down for his nap, and hunted for a largish, round, terracotta tray. We collected some compost, and added some sand to make two sections with a path running through. Then we collected some leaves, flowers and seed heads from around the garden.
Actually, I collected the flowers, Little Bear was more interested in adding extra compost. I found buddleia, clematis seed heads, roses, thrift, various leaves and some gorgeous bright red flowers I can never remember the name of. Next we simply stuck the flowers into the compost and sand, and made a beautiful garden.
Little Bear added some stones, which he preferred to mostly hide beneath the soil and sand. Zebra seemed to enjoy his garden. He had a nibble on some leaves, and hid for a while, but was quickly abandoned.
This was not quite the hours of quiet fun I remembered from my childhood. Never mind, I left Little Bear to dig around in his play box, the garden abandoned on the patio.
Later, I headed out to hang the washing, and found our beautifully decorated and planted garden destroyed. For a moment I felt horrified, and slightly bereft. But this was no longer my childhood game, it was Little Bear’s. The garden was gone, and in its place was the start of a building site. His digger, dumper and bulldozer had moved in.
I listened in as I hung the washing, and here was the story telling and imagination I had been hoping to inspire. Little Bear’s digger worked hard at digging its hole at one end of the site, trundling back and forth to the dumper, which in its turn returned the excavated sand to a spot right next to the digger’s hole.
Little Bear played for ages at this game, muttering to himself as he made paths and trenches through the sand and soil. He exercised his imagination, and his understanding of how a construction site works. He learned a little about efficiency and about how high a pile of sand and soil can be. This was not quite the activity I originally intended, but it was one that he enjoyed much more.
Little Bear was aged 3 years, 4 months for this activity.