Summer Holiday Garden Projects: Make a Natural Den and Sleep Under the Stars

If you have young kids who are off school over the summer then you may be struggling to work out what fun activities you can do together without breaking the bank. If you are lucky enough to have your own garden then that gives you a wealth of options when it comes to spending quality time with your kids. Of course you can do all the traditional garden things – sowing seeds, harvesting fruits and veggies, watching the wildlife... But there are also plenty of other summer holiday garden projects that you could consider. For example, you and your kids could make a natural den and sleep under the stars.

Making Your Den

On a sunny day when there is nothing much else to do, spend a relaxed afternoon with your child or children in your garden, or your local woodland/ parkland collecting natural materials such as branches, twigs and leaves that you can use to make a natural den in your garden. A simple A-frame structure is probably easiest, though you could also consider a tipi design, or making a lean-to type structure against a wall or fence. How exactly you construct your den will depend on the size of your garden and the natural resources that you can find there to help you make your simple shelter.

Depending on the age of your children, you can simplify the project as much as possible, or use it as the chance to teach some knot tying or basic joinery skills. But however you go about making your den, be sure to keep things relaxed and focus on having fun.

Preparing for a Night in the Den

While younger children will likely need some company in the den overnight,older kids may appreciate being given the freedom to try a camp out on their own, or with a friend. Once you have built the den together, spend more time in your garden and home preparing for the overnight adventure.

One job might be to collect some soft plant materials to use as a mattress in the den – some dry materials that you can lay sleeping bags out on. Another job might be picking some produce from your kitchen garden to make some midnight snacks.

Why not unearth some potatoes or other root veggies and make some crisps, make some fruit roll ups from summer berries and fruits, or cut up some crudités to enjoy with a delicious dip? You could also use summer berries and other ingredients to do some baking and make some sweet treats.

Then it is just a case of collecting a torch, books, toys and other overnight 'essentials' and getting into your den as light begins to fall to enjoy your overnight garden adventure.