Natural Kid Zone – Creating a Backyard Nature Area for Kids

IMG_2256The back yard is the best place for children to explore.  set aside some space just for exploration and you will find your kids outdoors playing and wondering about the world, how it works and who lives here.  Sounds like a great idea, but where do you start, how hard will it be to create this oasis?

Take one small area and remove the grasses so that children can dig.  Allow them to dig and play on wet and dry days as this will create a whole new experience.  Don’t worry about the mess so long as children are dressed for mess.

Kids of course are drawn to water.  Add a hose, sprinkler, bucket and scoops, watering cans, plastic pvc pipes of varying lengths.  Oh, and don’t forget to send them out in the rain so long as it isn’t storming.  take in the senses.  What things do they notice when the weather is wet?  Since water can be dangerous, make sure to supervise, but also stay back enough to allow them to explore without our input into the activity.

Consider adding a few large rocks (large enough so that they cannot be picked up and thrown, but small enough that they can be turned over to explore underneath.  Is there a tree in this environment?  I remember playing for hours in an old lilac bush when I was a child.  So much fun moving about its branches.  It could be anything and it was!

Don’t forget to add plants and perhaps allow children to help in the planting.  In my yard I need to make sure to have shade loving plants, but you will need to choose depending on your yards unique lighting.

Lastly, allow for some building materials.  A sheet for a fort, a variety of boards or long sticks can make for some great temporary forts and doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Have a few boards that you can allow to sit for a day or two and then go back to move these to see who has moved in.  I know in my yard we find all sorts of critters and the children just love it!

If you have enjoyed these ideas, please consider sharing one of your favorite back yard ideas.  I just love adding to our back yard fun and I bet you do too!

Kim Woehl is a licensed real estate agent and early childhood educator.  Please feel free to contact her at 651-214-1459 for information.

 

Pruning Fruit Trees

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Fruit trees need pruning to maintain shape, remove dead branches, remove diseased branches, and to rejuvenate older trees so that they can again begin producing more fruit.

Timing of pruning is important and more gardeners will tell you to prune while the tree is still dormant.  This allows you to better see the branches since you are not contending with leaves.  I am told the limbs are lighter in the winter as well although I haven’t noticed.  There is one other time you can prune and that it right after they are fully leaved out.    This allows the wounds to heal before those spring diseases try to get into your tree.

Winter is also a good time of year to trim most other types of trees as well and in many cases reduces disease.  Some of you gardeners who have been maintaining yards for years may not know this, but we no longer paint over the wound.  The tree will do this naturally on its own and this is said to be healthier for the tree.

I will be looking for apples come fall!  How about you?  What types of fruit trees do you have in your yard?  Is there another type of fruit that you wish you had growing in your yard?  Please share

I am a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty in the North Metro area in Minnesota.  If you are looking at buying or selling your home or know someone who would like to work with an experienced agent please pass my information along.  kwoehl.kwrealty.com  or 651-214-1459