101. Visiting Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - with children

Log Trail, Kew Gardens

Log Trail, Kew Gardens

Recently we were invited along to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew  to explore what they have on offer for children.

First up, the Log Trail. We were given a tour of the trail by Kew's Head of the Arboretum Tony Kirkham. A man  who is so passionate about getting the younger generation excited about trees, Tony was a joy to listen to.

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

"If through my job I can get one child in the thousands of children that visit Kew  to choose a career working with trees then I'll be a very happy man" he tells us. He also explains that this Log Trail is entirely made up of tree's which fell in the storms earlier this year, and the trail was designed and built by his team at Kew for free with the resources they have. Fired by their imaginations it's shaped up to be a really lovely trail that children will adore.

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Set in the Conservation Area at Kew, amongst the shade of the trees the Log Trail tests your balancing skills whether you are young or old. Kew gardens recommend that the Log Trail is ideal for the over 7's but Ozzy, aged 5 and Kitty, aged 6 managed the trail with relative ease, although they were challenged in places.

Trees used include beech, ash, oak, eucalyptus and pine, and to help people identify which tress have been used, they even have their names carved into them - it's a nice touch that can lead into some dialogue between child and parent too, comparing the different types of woods, noting the colours and differences.

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Oak

Oak

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Log Trail at Kew Gardens

Other fun activities for children at Kew include:

The Barefoot Trail, which is exactly as it sounds, a trail for you to do barefoot. It sees you walk / hobble/ squelch across wood, stone, cobbles, sand, pine cones, grass, water, charcoal, mud and more before reaching the water station at the end where toes can be cleaned off. Great fun for both children and grown ups.

Lotions and Potions Workshop. for £3 per child, they can learn about and get hands-on experience, making a balm. Kitty and Ozzy made a healing potion using comfrey which can be used on bruises and bumps. The ladies running this were attentive and engaging - and Kit and Oz have been using their potions ever since at every available opprtunity. There's been a lot of 'Is this a bruise mummy?'... "No darling that's dirt"... 'Oh' *sad face*

Comfrey Ointment Recipe

Comfrey Ointment Recipe

Comfrey Ointment Recipe

50ml jars

Pestle and Mortar

2 tablespoons chopped and pounded comfrey or dried variety

50 ml vegetable oil

Strainer

3 rounded tsp grates beeswax


Chop herbs and grind using the pestle and mortar

Infuse comfrey in 50ml vegetable oil for 30 minutes

Simmer do not boil

Strain into plastic jug and return the liquid to the pan, discarding the solids

Add 3 tsp of wax and stir until melted

Pour into containers and allow to cool before sealing.

Lotions and Potions at Kew Gardens

Lotions and Potions at Kew Gardens

Whilst you wait for it to solidify, which takes literally 10 minutes, you can make a label for it, to remind you what the balm can and cannot be used for:

Apply as needed for bumps and bruises. This slave is for external use only, as it is known to cause liver damage if ingested. Avoid using on broken skin. It can last up to  year if kept refrigerated.

Avoid using on broken skin

Making a label


Making a label

Hug a Tree, well who wouldn't want to when they look this cosy?

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

These crocheted sleeves were made by Knitiffi having been commissioned by Kew Gardens for their Summer of Plant celebration, Plantasia. 

Kitty and GG hug Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Kitty and GG hug Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Crocheted Trees at Kew Gardens by Knitiffi

Choose your Healing Hero  - Learn about five important medicinal plants, then vote for the one you think is most important. Once you've picked one, you pick up a piece of coloured wool for that plants 'colour' and attached it to the knitted 'tree cosy' installation, the idea being that it will create a striking art feature which will evolve throughout the festival.

Healing Heros at Kew Gardens

Healing Heros at Kew Gardens

Knitted Tree at Kew

Knitted Tree at Kew

Logistics

Prices: Adults £15, Children under 16 - Free, Disabled, Students and Senior Citizens £14. Registered Blind and carers for adult disabled visitors - Free

Travel: Kew Gardens is in London and parking is extremely limited. We did manage to bag a car parking space on the A307, Kew Road,where parking is free after 10am - a word of advice though, theses spaces all went within 10 minutes. If you can't park there then you are pretty stuck so I would recommended getting the underground if you can. All travel info here: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/plan-your-visit/getting-here

More information: Visit the Kew Gardens website

Further Reading:

A Family Day Out at Kew Gardens