Whilst my friends who are two NHS doctors are hard at work every day, I agreed to facetime their daughters (aged 9 and 11) and lead them in multiple creative sessions, to keep them occupied whilst mum and dad are working. I’ve planned the first 5 sessions to last 3.5 hours, and one to last 7.5 hours, creative and fun! This blog will provide you with a list of materials and the planning and ideas. Here is a short film to show how we made a set of 20 flags and a golf course.
The goal in sessions 1-4 is to create a set of flags that can be setup outside, which can provide hours of making time and also play time, creating fun games with the flags for children aged 4-11.
Session 1: Making flags
We’ll be making 20 handmade flags, drawing numbers on them. Using coloured card or paper (whatever you have at home) or if you don’t have any paper, look in your recycling and use the back of cereal packets. Decorate the flags with a number and with patterns, invite them to draw pictures of what is going on in their life. One child I did these sessions with loves animals, so on one of our flags she found a gerbil in a covid mask in a magazine, cut it out and stuck it onto a flag… Once made, the flags are attached to a stick of approximately 45cm long. These sticks can be purchased online (plant support sticks work perfectly), or use anything you have in the garden. You could even collect sticks whilst you’re out on your daily walk, just remember to choose fairly straight sticks.
Why make boundary flags?
They can be used by the children to create a circle to play in, a safe space. It’s a way of ensuring that even the youngest children know where they can and cannot go – an easier way to keep an eye on them. So once this challenging time is over, you can take these flags into woods, rural places and ask the children to mark their safe space using the flags and not to go beyond the flag markers. In a time of restriction, this activity gives the children an opportunity to decide where they’ll play. Creating the 20 flags alone took a total of 8 hours. We’ll be making a small scale 18 hole golf course (you can choose 9 holes if you prefer) and using the flags you make in this session to mark each hole, start saving yogurt pots/plastic bottles to cut into small cups for the golf holes!
- Card, 20 sheets, pre-cut to make flags size 17cm x 15cm, so one long rectangle of 34cm x 30cm – folded in half.
- Colouring pencils.
- Colouring felt tip pens.
- Stamps/ink pad, stickers.
- Black permanent marker pen (Sharpie).
- Old magazines/newspapers.
- Pritt stick.
- 9 or 18 yogurt pots or equivalent sized pots from your recycling box.
- One small trowel per child to dig in yogurt pots.
- 20 straight sticks, approx. 45cm in length, these can be either skinny garden sticks (they normally support new plants) or gather sticks that have fallen from trees while out on your daily exercise walk.
- Phone or iPad, laptop for FaceTime with someone who can sit remotely with child as they decorate the flags.
- Draw a large number on the left side of the flag, and then the same large number on the right, so both sides of the flag show the number.
- Draw images on the flag on each side, things that are important or funny or remind you of happy times.
- Cut out images from old magazines and newspapers, pieces of wrapping paper. Use rubber stamps and an ink pad if you have one, add stickers. Anything goes, the brighter the better.
- Use a pritt stick to glue one half of the flag inside, insert the stick and fold around the stick.
- I like to make my flags waterproof so I wrap them in sticky back plastic and cut to size. Make 20 flags in total, all numbered.
- On the computer, create a score card, numbering each golf hole with space for each player.
8.30am – good morning chat, number flag and colour in number, decide on how to decorate, themes.
9-9.30am – workout on YouTube with Joe Wicks
9.30-10.15am – decorate flags
10.15-10.30am breaktime, drink & snack
10.30am-12 noon – decorating flags
In the following sessions (5 & 6) , these are the instructions to make a golf course:
- Ask the child/children to make a map of their garden, with details like slopes and things that are important when planning a golf course, interesting places and identify sites that would be good to dig a small hole the size of a yogurt pot. They should consider not hitting any windows/buildings/greenhouse, so ensure they don’t plan to put a hole in the line of sight of any of these.
- Ask them to check out the Royal North Devon golf course online, https://www.royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk
- This golf course has 18 holes, each hole has a number and a name, ask the children to look up the names and use them as inspiration for naming the holes on their golf course/map.
- Ask the children to decide if they want a 9-hole or an 18-hole golf course.
- Now invite them to add the location and names of each hole to their map. Ensure no holes are in the middle of a lawn (flower beds are good for holes, or less precious parts of the garden, suggest they use any left-over drain pipes or the inner tubes from wrapping paper to add to making the golf holes interesting.
- Check the map, ask them to amend any golf hole locations that could result in a broken window.
- Invite them to take the map, a trowel and the yogurt pots to dig the holes for the pots. The children I did this activity with had building work in their home, so they had access to lots of spare sections of drain pipe and they used these on a number of holes to add interest. Keep in contact through FaceTime, whilst the construction is taking place.
- I don’t have any golf clubs so made some out of off cuts of wood, remember to bind the top with some gaffer tape, to protect against splinters.
- You can make a golf course in your own garden, while the children are making one in theirs. Once the lockdown has ended you can visit each other’s gardens for a game of golf.
- If you don’t have a garden, you could make a map of a family members garden/grandparent’s garden, decide the number of golf holes, create a plan, collect the sticks, collect the yogurt pots and make the flags. Put everything in a box with a trowel, this can be your ‘make a golf course kit’.
Have a great time playing garden golf, create a number of hits expected for each hole and create a score card with a line for each player. Stay safe.