Last but not least in our spring cleaning series from RoosterFin Games, we’re getting ready to tackle the yard and get our gardening-groove on.
Spring fever is in the air. The house is ready, and the car is cleaned out and prepared for summer fun since, halleluiah, the weather is finally cooperating. So you know what that means - it’s time to clean up the backyard!
1. Hose down your outdoor furniture.
Rescue garden furniture by bringing it out into the light to be hosed down and cleaned off with warm soapy water, and then hosed down again. Make it a family fun project where everyone gets to pitch in. Even younger kids can help sponge cleaning. Just make sure to never leave any of the little toddlers unattended around buckets of water.
2. Gussy-up the windows.
While you have the hose and sponges out, clean the outside of your windows. First, take the screens out and clean them carefully by hosing them down. Let them soak while you tackle the windows. Spray wash and then scrub down the outside of the windows thoroughly.
Now you are ready to use window cleaner and get the glass streak-free clean by drying them off using newspaper. Yes, newspaper. It sounds crazy, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more effective or cheaper option for getting that streak-free look.
Back to the screens - now that you’ve had the window screens soaking in water for several minutes, it should be easy to rinse them off one more time and put them back into place. If there are still spots that need additional cleaning, just do these spots using the soapy sponge.
3. Pressure-wash the back patio.
Do you have a patio or porch that needs pressure washed? Maybe the house itself could benefit from a shower? Consider buying a pressure washer. It might be a good investment for years to come.
Make sure you use the right pressure when using a pressure washer. Weak water pressure won’t be enough to get the job done, but too much might do more harm than good.
Allow for more than just one day to get your outside space ready. You have to be prepared for downtime to rally and motivate the troops. You know your children best, so you will notice signs when they get bored, and it is time to switch up the chores. Or if they are just tired and need a break. It might even be a good idea to hold off and continue the rest of the outside spring cleaning task the next day - weather permitting.
4. Clear the debris.
If you decided that this was enough for a day’s work, start the next spring cleaning day around the yard by picking up sticks and stones and any debris you want to get rid off. Look for a designated place to put anything you can burn if permitted by your ordinance. A burn pit is ideal and also a fun do-it-yourself project.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you want everyone to feel like they are part of a team for getting the outside ready for the summer. This will also strengthen the bonds your family has, and create fun memories. Plus, pitching in together on a project like spring cleaning will teach your children valuable lessons about teamwork, communication, and cooperation.
Does your family like to garden? Spring is the time to get the kids excited for gardening, planting, and sprucing up the yard, and supplying the dinner table with fresh, home-grown vegetables.
You can suggest that they can pick their own little patch in the vegetable garden where they can choose which herbs and veggies to plant. Walk around in the yard and talk about what could go where.
Do you want to use planters close to the house, so getting fresh herbs when needed is easier? How about planting annuals in pots rather than in the ground? Which perennials are easy to take care of, don’t overrun your backyard, and look great as borders? Let the kids help water them and watch them grow year after year.
Now that the yard is ready, it’s time to bring out the gardening tools, gloves, wheelbarrows, and water pails. Having kid-sized wheelbarrows and watering buckets and gardening tools they can handle increases their feelings of pride and accomplishment when it comes to spring cleaning and preparing the garden for a good harvest.
Depending on their age, kids may even get involved in making salads, vegetable soups or enjoy coming up with ideas for vegetable medleys harvested fresh from their garden patch.
Getting them to eat their vegetables just got a whole lot easier!
And imagine their pride when they can share their homegrown veggies with friends, family, and neighbors who don’t have a garden. This family project might also make good material for future school projects in the coming year. Your kids will be able to explain how they cleaned the yard and prepared a spot for their garden, and how they planted and tended to the plants during the growing season.