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6 things to do in the garden with your kids on the Easter weekend

The Weekly's Jackie French shares her top ideas to keep little wandering hands busy outside, this Easter weekend.

1. Feed the banksia men!
I used to spend hours feeding the banksia men when I was small. Of course they were real - they sipped up the water didn't they? Maybe the reason I never quite took to the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie stories was that I could never see banksia men as bad. Banksia men were my friends.
If you want to feed banksia men get a cup of water and a spoon and dry banksias. Spoon the water through their lips - and like all living things the water will eventually come out the other end.
2. Create a garden orchestra!
We used to play tunes on gum leaves too. You fold a green and supple leaf in half and sort of hum and sort of blow, a bit like playing a kazoo. If you can feel your lips tingle you're on the right track. I haven't done it for years and I never really did get the knack - but some people become virtuosos of the gum leaf with a huge and varied repertoire played with rare skill and expression.
3. Explore the garden
Watch sunflowers follow the sun (except they often don't, especially new cultivars with lots of heads) and lawn daisies sulk and close up when the sun goes behind a cloud and a hydrangea change to pink when you lime it and beans always go round a post the same way (or do they?).
4. Grow your own funny zucchini
Try tying a bit of string round a zucchini as it grows to make a ridiculous shape. Or paste brown paper over a green apple in the shape of a kid's name then, when it's ripe, peel away the paper and their name will be indelibly on the apple.
5. Let your kids have a go at gardening
Gardening is something that can't be learnt from books. You have to get your fingers dirty to learn how to garden, see what a mealie bug looks like when it's sucking at a lemon twig, watch how the tops of carrots change as they ripen. Books can lead you to new experiences in gardening and give you information and new perspectives: but they can't give you the real thing.
6. Teach your kids some important tips
The simplest lessons can be the ones that stay with you: I remember my grandfather showing me how to take a cutting (snap it off, stick in the ground and keep it moist and shaded) or my grandmother Jannie showing me how wind and sunlight browned a camellia.
When it comes to a long weekend, like the one we've got coming up, it can be hard to keep the little ones preoccupied (and stop them from tearing up your house!). Here are some ideas and tips to keep the kids busy out of doors.

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