Half-Term Kids Activities and Weeds ‘Know Your Enemy’

As it’s half term for the children here in Leicestershire this week, I thought I’d do something a little bit different. Each day I will be looking at a different activity to do with children. The activity will be fun and obviously cheap.

Firstly though, I will start with my ‘Weed week – know your enemy’. The more you know about a weed, the more likely you are to stop it from taking hold in your garden.

So this week I will be looking at a different common weed each day.

Weeds are fascinating.  The more I read about them, the more interested in them I become.  After all, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place.

Times I hear people say that they wish their vegetables grew as quickly as the weeds.  The problem is that most weeds are native to this country and have been around for a very long time, whereas most vegetables haven’t been around quite such a long time and a lot of them have been brought in from different countries over the years.  So weeds really have an advantage.

However, some weeds can be useful too.  Parts of them can be used to eat, for herbal remedies, to make wine or drinks, to dye clothes and to feed and shelter beneficial insects. Also, some weeds can be dug into your ground and act like a green manure e.g. chickweed.

So they can be useful too, if you just look at them in a different way.

There are different types of weeds too:

Annual Weeds

Annuals complete their lifecycle in just one year:

Germinate – Grow – Flower – Set Seed – Die.

E.g. Groundsel, Cleavers


Ephemeral Weeds

A plant that completes many lifecycles in the same year:

Germinate – Grow – Flower – Set Seed – Die.

They are very short-lived plants and this cycle happens many times over the year.

E.g. Groundsel

Biennial Weeds

Biennials complete their lifecycle in two years:

Year 1 – They germinate and grow

Year 2 – They flower and set seed

E.g. Shepherds purse


Perennial Weeds

A perennial weed lives for more than two years and most will reproduce many times.  They reproduce either by seed and / or vegetatively.

E.g. couch grass, creeping buttercup.

If you know their lifecycle, you can eradicate the weed before it reproduces.  Remember the old saying:

“One year’s seeding means seven years weeding”

Over the next four days I will look at four common weeds and their lifecycles, in the hope we can fight the battle of ‘The Weeds’.


Today’s Half-Term Activity – Play Dough

An easy thing to make is ‘Play dough’.  Over the years, my daughters have had hours of fun making shapes and cutting models out.  I kept my eyes open for cutters and things in charity shops and school fairs and I managed to get quite a collection.

Play dough can be made in any colour.  I used to make batches of three colours. It’s safe for the kids to play with as there are no chemicals and it won’t harm them if they put it in their mouths (though it will taste foul if they do).

 It lasts for a few days if you pop it in the fridge after the kids have finished with it.  Put it in a box or a bag, to stop it from drying out.


Play dough Recipe:

1 Cup of water

1 Cup Plain flour

½ Cup of salt

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

Few drops of food colouring


Put the ingredients into a pan and heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture comes together in one large ball.

Don’t be alarmed at the state of your pan after cooking.  Soak the pan for a while and the play dough will  wash off easily.

Leave the play dough to cool on a plate for a few minutes.


It’s as easy as that.

Play dough ‘hair’


I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today

5 thoughts on “Half-Term Kids Activities and Weeds ‘Know Your Enemy’

  1. I am looking forward to your posts on weeds, i remember many happy hours playing with play dough with my children you jogged some wonderful memories thank you.

  2. I am also looking forward to your weed posts! To see if we have many in common 🙂
    The play dough looks interesting. I have never made it with mine because I don’t usually have the ingredience spare, but it is still interesting, and you never know…

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