Our backyard is our piece of tranquility. Summer BBQs, family gatherings, wildlife, marshmallows being toasted over the fire pit, planting fruits and veggies with the kids, running, laughing, swimming, and appreciating the nature that surrounds us. Despite the fact that we live in suburban Minnesota, we have turkeys, deer, bunnies, and ducks that appear daily! We love it! Our backyard was the selling point on our house and truly our favorite part of our home.
You may well be teaching your children about nature, but are you teaching them about being friendly to the environment? One of the ways that you can teach them to be friendlier to the environment as a whole is to embrace wildlife in your surrounding. Hedgehogs, squirrels and even door mice are prevalent in many gardens across the country, but if you’re not looking after your yard properly you could end up killing off some of these beautiful creatures who are just looking for somewhere to live.
If you’ve already got a fish pond – built safely, of course, then you could keep reptiles and fish safe and learn more here about how to keep the water healthy for them. Doing so means that you are caring about the wellbeing of your fish so that you can teach your children how to look after them correctly. In the same ticket, you can teach them how to help you organise the garden so that you have the perfect space for wildlife to set up camp. Most small animals, especially hedgehogs, require a space to live that is safe and bio-diverse. Your backyard needs to encourage insects in so that you can also encourage the wildlife that feeds on them. This includes birds, reptiles and hedgehogs looking for a snack! While you’re at it, think about the flowers that you plant and how they can attract bees – we are in dire straits with bees and they are dying out at an alarming rate. However, if we plant the right flowers, we can be a part of slowing down that process.
When raising children, having a yard is the perfect and safe way to encourage outside play. Teaching them about what it means to take care of the animals that come and visit is also important. There are so many ways that you can teach your kids to be friendly when it comes to wildlife. With the six tips below, you can encourage more wildlife to visit you this summer.
Ponds Are Life. There a so many different species that can live in a pond and all animals that are land based need water to stay alive. You can teach your children how to care for a pond and make it as healthy as possible, and you can keep the wildlife that enter your garden healthy and well, simply by having a water resource in your garden. If you don’t have a big garden, don’t worry! A shallow basin dug into a patch of grass can make a fantastic bird bath or watering hole for small animals. You can check out this link to see how to build a safe pond for your wildlife.
Native Hedging. Hedges are a huge source of food for small animals in wildlife, and the best bit about planting hedges instead of fences is that you can rope the kids in to help. You can buy bare-root hedging in the autumn and your birds that visit your garden for the bird bath will thank you for it! Children can learn so much about which animals like to live in hedges and it’s the perfect teaching moment for them.
Messy Patches. Those of you out there with children will know that there’s no such thing as a tidy garden. Toys, games, bats and balls; you name it, the garden is covered in it. However, if you make a point of leaving one area untidy, you can encourage more wildlife. A pristine garden with a perfectly mowed lawn doesn’t encourage any wildlife into your garden as they’d be too exposed. Overgrown grass at the back of the garden – perhaps near a hedge – can provide good coverage for smaller animals. A messy patch can also encourage more insects, which is a valuable source of food for them, too.
Wild Flowers. The flowers you choose to plant that are friendly for bees are amazing to see in the garden, but the ones that you choose to plant based on the fact that they are native and wild are the ones that will be perfect for insects. Most people want to discourage insects from their homes, but it’s these that can help small animals to flourish.
Rocky Peaks. Your pond is the perfect spot for a rocky border in your garden, and while your particular garden may not get very many reptiles, with the right environment, they can be encouraged. If you provide a rocky area, you can give reptiles like small lizards a place to find shelter and to bask. It’s nice to be able to bring wildlife that is more unusual into the garden, because children can then learn where they come from and what they eat in their own environment.
Make A Bug Hotel. This can be all about the kids if you want it to be, but you can grab shoeboxes, bamboo, leaves and straw and put it all together to create a bug hotel, where bugs can live, breed and generally have a place for shelter. You can test out different areas in your garden where you will attract the most bugs and then you can encourage more insects toward the animals that have taken up residence in your backyard.
Having a yard that is bursting with wildlife can make entertaining the children in the summer far more interesting. They get the chance to learn about animals that they wouldn’t have learned about usually, and they get drawn into nature by planting flowers and hedges in the garden. Not only can you do something for the kids, you can do better for the planet and the animals that inhabit it. It’s a good example to set this year!