Nowadays children seem to be addicted to their Playstations, Wii’s and Xboxes and are busy battling to save the universe in their bedrooms. Whilst they are doing this they are not getting any exercise or bonding with other children. So now it’s a good idea to show them the joys of your garden and your 10X10 shed. To many children the garden shed is out of bounds, and in many cases it’s important that they are, but with some friendly encouragement and guidance you can show them delights they would not be expecting. Children love to play in the dirt generally, certainly young children, so this can make it seem more fun to them. Introduce them to the garden by allowing them a small area where can cultivate their piece of garden and allow them to grow their own vegetables or flowers. You will need to educate them, but don’t tell them they are being educated, about what garden tools to use and where you keep them in your shed. Ensure they realise these tools have to be put back into the garden shed afterwards for next time.Put their garden plot where they can see it easily, often in front of the shed is good, as this will encourage them to keep checking on their garden. Allow them to water their seeds and plants and give them responsibility for them. They will enjoy that, being like their Dad’s.
Don’t dictate to them what to grow, let them take a look at the seed catalogues and allow then to choose. Try to steer them towards easy growing vegetable or flowers to ensure their results are good. By doing this you can share in their enjoyment and wonder at growing THEIR own produce or flowers. And when they eat it (not the flowers, unless it’s cauliflower) they will be very proud of themselves, and so they should be.
A scheme, a few years ago, was launched for children banned from the potting shed at home or who did not have the benefit of their own garden or were not allowed in their garden at home but who marvelled at flowers by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). This gardening scheme was launched during the school holidays in August for under 16’s to visit any of the four RHS gardens free of charge. At these events they were allowed to participate in most of the fun events taking place.
These youngsters were able to handle various gardening tool found in most gardens and also could take part in bug hunts (ugh) which took place at Hyde Hall which is in Essex. The chief curator at the RHS gardens, Jim Gardiner (very apt) said that a trip to these gardens would ensure a great day out for all the family. He hoped that these visitors would come back in the future as well as providing encouragement to involve their children at home in their gardens.
Other free garden activities on offer at the time was a forest party at Harlow Carr in Yorkshire. Down in Devon were activities such as face painting, story telling, hosting arts and garden crafts workshops. At Wisley, near Guildford in Surrey, children’s interests were sharpened in skills such as tracking through the woods and gardens, den making and also allowing them to try to conquer the sunflower maze. Wisley Gardens, through their great range of pursuits won them the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year in the 2010.
These activities involving the garden and maybe the use of your shed, ideally 10X10 or over is the best option, will help to keep your children fit, both physically and mentally and must be seen as a ‘win win’ situation.
Garden sheds are extremely versatile buildings and are used for a vast amount of uses. Normally for storage or as garden workshops and many are used for hobbies or craft rooms. It’s even been the case that big sheds such as 10X10 or larger have been converted into pubs so their owners can share some quality time with their friends and ‘chew the cud’ so to speak. Another shed was called into use as a practice room for the Scottish group, The Streams, and they have done so well they now play at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut where their appearances are sold out. In the beginning they were learning their craft in this shed with one of their favourite songs being White Stripes songs just to practice. They never really expected their career to take off in this way. Besides learning the guitar, they had a keyboard which was used a drum machine in the early days. They must have had very good neighbours.
Another novel use for a shed was in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where a play was being performed in people’s garden sheds. Marcus Moore and Jo Boulsfield performed their two man play about getting old called, Still Kicking, with people being able to enjoy this in a very unusual location. This play was first performed at the Everyman theatre’s studio before they started touring sheds but really needed one at least 10X10 in size but could manage in smaller ones.
Marcus said that as the shed workshop is a place away from the house, away from the hubble and bustle of daily life and where people can contemplate the world this makes it a great location and is one of the main attractions of their shows. Three Cheltenham shed owners were happy to have this play performed for them.
The summerhouse of Matthew Holland’s in Cheltenham was one of the locations and he said that he was excited to be working with Cheltenham’s art scene in this unusual way. Roses Theatre Bar, who also was hosting this play, described Still Kicking as an amusing look of life after turning 60. Beware the play contains ‘song, sex and surprise’
Well after being in the shed business for over 40 years I was certainly surprised that these could be used in this way. However I’m sure there are many other uses for these wonderful British garden buildings. If you know of any novel uses for sheds or you are using your 10X10 shed for such strange use please let us know. You may give other people some inspiration and they may become the next big band or the latest play to hit the West End.