There are just some nights where you know the kids aren’t going to go to bed on time, so why not try a bit of bat watching instead?
Last week one of the kids asked me if bats were real. My response was whaaaat?? But that little person said, “well, I’ve never seen one!” Which is actually a very fair and valid point! Apart from Batman and halloween references, there isn’t actually a lot of exposure for bats! So here’s how you can educate those little minds!
According to the Woodland Trust there are 17 species of bats living in the UK. If you don’t manage to spot any, you’ll at least get some large moths you can always pass off as a bat! Haha!
So how can you encourage bats into your garden?
1. Plant some night-scented flowers:
- Night-scented jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
- Evening primrose (Oenothera)
- Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)
- Perennial white stock (Matthiola perennis ‘Alba’)
- Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’
2. Build a pond (if you don’t have one).
This is a great video on how to build a pond for free! Personally, I’d start with asking around on local Freecycle groups for anyone getting rid of a pond.
3. Let your garden get a little over grown.
Probably the easiest way but bats’ natural habitats are getting more and more scarce due to increased housing development. Even if you continue to mow your lawn, consider reducing how often you strim the edges.
4. Put up a bat box.
You can buy a bat box for about £10 on Amazon here. Or enjoy making your own with the kids. This is a great kit on Not On The Highstreet.
5. Create a hedgerow or tree line.
The easiest and cheapest, albeit slowest way to grow trees is by saving nuts or seeds from your fruit.
For a more ‘ready-made’ solution, every year the Woodland Trust give away tree packs for schools and communities. Applications open 27th August 2019 for the March 2020 delivery.
There are 8 different types of tree pack to apply for, including hedge, copse, wild harvest, year round colour, working wood, wild wood, wild life and urban trees. You can apply here.
6. Reduce artificial lighting.
Basically switch off indoors, lay out some blankets or rugs and pillows in the middle of your garden and keep those phones and tablets in doors and just look up! If you live in a built up area with lots of light pollution, take the kids out for an early evening drive into the countryside just in time for dusk. Switch off the engine and get the picnic blanket out to do some bat eating and star gazing if you’re lucky enough to get a cloudless sky.
For more ideas, read this info sheet written by the Bat Conservation Trust.
For more ideas on free activities to do with children, read here.
*Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.