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Dh and I did a garden in the corner of our yard last year..we thought we were going to move so we didn't keep it up too much. Somehow our neighbor over-watered his yard and it crept under the community wall and kept some of our garden alive.<br><br>
We have decided to do a raised bed along the back wall (East) and put curbing and make the yard more inviting for the kids to play and also to entertain with a BBQ pit.<br><br>
I have all kinds of ideas that I would like but, need some cool ideas for the kids.
 

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Sunflowers, I would like to do a sunflower house.<br><br><a href="http://s3.hubimg.com/u/277526_f260.jpg" target="_blank">http://s3.hubimg.com/u/277526_f260.jpg</a><br><br>
I like the idea of just a mess of flowers they can pick. We do get violets in our yard but they might like others too. I am thinking of dumping a bunch of wildflowers in one area and see if any grow for them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Dd loves her bleeding hearts.
 

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My son loved peas and cherry tomatoes. Nothing more fun that a run by pick! The peas and tomatoes never made it into the house they were consumed daily right in the garden!<br><br>
We planted snapdragons this year. And another one that kids like are bulbs like crocuses daffodils and tulips. We planted some in the fall and it was awesome to see them peek up in early spring!
 

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Are you looking to make a permanent garden for the kids, or a temporary (annual garden)? I have a few ideas for each...<br><br>
Permanent garden:<br>
- Build a living playhouse with fast-growing shrubs. If you have a large area, you could plant some elderberry bushes or forsythia in a semi circle, and weave the branches together/ prune out unneccessary branches to create a playhouse as they grow. Both of these shrubs are very hardy, and could take the abuse.<br><br>
- Someone mentioned bleeding hearts, which are awesome, because you can turn the flowers into a ballet dancer - turn the flower upside down, and carefully peel back the pink petals to form the dancer's legs. My mom used to make these for us when we were little, and we loved them. Likewise, you can make dolls from hollyhocks - just take an open flower, turn it upside down to form the dolls skirt, and use a straight pin to pin a closed flowerbud to the top (her head).<br><br>
- Someone else also mentioned a cutting garden - this is the biggest hit for my kids and the neighborhood kids! They love being told, "Yes, you can pick the flowers! Pick as many as you'd like!" They are so proud to take a bouquet home to their mommies.<br><br>
- Edible flowers and herbs - the kids just love eating flowers and snacking on herbs! There are a lot of annual edible flowers, but there are are also some perennials (orange daylilies, violets, salad burnet). A lot of herbs are too strong for most kids to just want to snack on, but some are not. My kids love mint, sorrel, lemon balm, parsley (not a perennial, but it reseeds so easily, I'll include it), dill (same).<br><br>
Annual garden:<br>
My kids have had fun with a bean pole teepee and with a pizza garden (we planted veggies and herbs that are good on pizza - in the shape of a pizza). Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots is a great resource for annual garden ideas. I will say, though, that while my kids had fun with these two ideas from the book, they actually seem to enjoy the garden more when they get to pick out the plants and decide where to plant them themselves.
 

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I'm still working on mine so I don't have pics yet. I've made a raised garden in the shape of a big C. In the center, I am going to pull up the sod, put down some pea gravel, and put her little plastic pool and her water table in the center (makes dumping the pool and table water on the garden plants easier). Someone gave us a big beach umbrella so my husband is going to cement some pipes in the ground by the table and by the pool so we can put the umbrella in them for shade. There's a little wooden bench out there too that my mom got for her. She's also got a sandbox and a little wooden bridge that spans the flower garden. My lo is 3 and is a nature girl so we'll be spending lots of time outside. Check Freecycle for outdoor toys-that's where we got the sandbox.<br><br>
Re plants, she has "her own" mint pots- sweet mint, chocolate mint, and spearmint. She keeps them watered with her little watering can. We planted peas, cherry tomatoes, ground cherries and naranjilla, strawberries, and cucumbers that she can pick and eat in the yard.<br><br>
We also keep suet out to attract the birds, a hummingbrid feeder to attract those, and I'd like to get a small birdbath to attract the birds and dragonflies that eat mosquitoes. We've made to stepping stones for the center area as well with her handprints and some sparkly (read: tacky) mosaic tiles. We'll be going to the creek this week to get a few small rocks to paint.<br><br>
Some other ideas we may use in the future-<br>
1. Make a tunnel with some flexible fencing. Plant peas down the length of each side of the tunnel.<br>
2. Make a teepee shaped trellis and plant pole beans around the base for a great little playhouse (and some shade from the summer sun!). The trellis can alos be draped with fabric during other times of the year when the beans aren't growing.<br>
3. Plant a "sensory" area- mint/herbs to eat, lavender and rosemary to smell, bunnytails to touch, sensitive plants to play with, etc<br>
4. Plant sunflowers in a circle for a little hidey-hole area. Use the dried sunflower heads to make bird feeders for fall/winter.<br>
5. Plant butterfly-friendly plants to attract butterflies.<br><br>
Just a few ideas. It's so much fun! I tend to be the utilitarian type and being creative and making the garden fun for my lo really is a lot of fun for me, too. Check out sites like familyfun.c om for outdoor craft ideas. Aside from the teaching her about gardening and fresh veggies, I'd like for her to really take some ownership in the backyard and little crafts/kid-generated items seem to accomplish that goal.<br><br>
Good luck! Have fun with it!
 

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We're doing a sunflower house and a teepee for DS! Also a dirt pile with lots of shovels - it's so easy but ds loves it, he's only 14mo though <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I'll echo the cutting garden idea. I planted a bazillion cosmos (ok maybe 10 really but they produced a bazillion flowers!) and my nieces and my son all had a fabulous time picking as many flowers as they desired! This year I'm doing more zinnias and other fast growing easy annuals.<br><br>
The other essential for the children's area of our garden is a digging hole that can also turn into a mud hole for reallllly dirty and fun play. My son will be 4 this summer and has been into the hole since he could walk! My youngest son will be 1 this summer and already loves the mud hole, it's really funny to see his little crawler butt wiggle over to it at high speed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I put a path down our corn patch which leads to a little clearing in the center. We have snacks and lunch and read books in there. I plant pole beans around the perimiter of that circle and some low flowers such as marigolds. It turns into a really magical place to sit and listen to the corn blow around in the breeze. We all really enjoy it. It also creates a space for me to sneak away with a glass of wine now and then <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
And those GIANT sunflowers, they are always so impressive and then we can watch the birds go nuts on the seed heads. A big long row of those is super cool!
 

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Along our back fence I took a 16ft pig pannel and bent it into a C so it looks like this along the fence CI I used some bricks to raise the outside edge and we planted sunflowers along the inside of the panel along the outside I planted pole beans cukes and 2 kinds of cherry tomatoes. I will tuck basil and more marigolds in as needed.<br><br>
I took the first pics last week
 

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Thank You !<br><br>
As I was reading these posts I was picturing the kids running around the yards. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="throb"><br><br>
I went to the library yesterday and found a book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSunflower-Houses-Inspiration-Children-Grown-Ups%2Fdp%2F0761123865" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Sunflower-Hous.../dp/0761123865</a><br><br>
Dh is looking to do some concrete stools and let the kids add pigment and sand to personalize them. The older girls really want to make stepping stones with the pebbles and glass ect.<br><br>
I really like the teepee idea a lot for the boys , but I am kinda worried about black widows. Dh just told me last night that he went around the house and found over 9 of them <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes">.. I might have to use a canvas cloth and bring it in when they are done..then plant the vines next to the area or something. I could also put some clothes lines out and let them drape fabric to make a fort that can be moved
 
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