When I heard that June’s Centre Parcs challenge with Tots 100 was all about dens, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Mine is a little different though, more of a gradual build I would say.
Back in April, again as part of that month’s Centre Parcs challenge and the preschooler’s gardening theme week, we started work on building a sensory garDEN. You can read all about it in this post here. I wanted the sensory garDEN to be an ongoing project, something for the preschooler and I to do together and an activity that would nurture his growing love for gardening. I also promised I would post an update, which very conveniently ties in with June’s theme of den building. I hope it’s ok that we started ours months ago and it still isn’t finished!
We started the garDEN off with:
- Sweet peas- for colour and scent. We wanted them to climb up the canes of the den.
- Runner beans- again, to climb up the canes and to provide us with something tasty to eat.
I also wanted to use the inside the of the den as a digging pit so that we could put it to good use as the plants were growing. I intended to also plant:
- Love in the mist-we did this and it’s growing really well.
- Lavender and chocolate cosmos- oops. Next on the list!
- Mint– this is growing in an old welly boot, adding a splash of colour and a lovely minty smell too.
- Broad beans and Nasturtiums- we planted these in our Plenty pots and they have now been added to the den.
Unfortunately, our runner beans did not grow, which is a real shame but proves one of my initial theories. When gardening with kids, always plant extra and have a back up plan to avoid disappointment! We replaced runner beans with broad beans which have grown really well.
The preschooler has been an excellent help in watering the plants and helping to choose where to plant them. Over the weeks we have added to the den and we now have:
- Oriental Lillies- these are towards the front of the den, to provide colour and scent. They can also be used again next year if we’re careful.
- Ivy- we chose this to help with coverage over the canes. Because we wanted the end result to be den, we knew we needed something that would grow easily and provide lots of coverage too. The fact that Ivy is hardy is a great bonus too as it will grow throughout the year and make for a great den next summer too.
- Clematis- another climbing plant with beautiful flowers for colour and scent.
- Solar powered butterfly lights- this one is for me. They look awesome at night!
The Love in the Mist and some Sweat Peas are in pots at the top of the den and I am hoping that the Sweat Peas will start to trail down to provide a sweet green roof for the den. The digging pit is still there but now it is…
a Dinosaur Den!
Not many of our activities pass without the dinosaurs getting involved and when he isn’t digging, the preschooler is sitting right in there with his Jurassic pals! With the mud kirchen and the pirate ship sand pit, this part of the garden belongs to the kids and its fantastic to see them having fun out there. And yes, its lovely to see the preschooler getting dirty knees in his den!
Ours may not be a ‘traditional’ den and it is a work in progress, but none the less, I think we’ve done a really good job! So this is our June entry for the Centre Parcs challenge.