Sunday, 29 April 2012
Gardening with children
Hardly the weather for us Brits at the mo to even think about venturing outside, but today's post is briefly exploring the benefits of gardening with your child.
Growing plants and vegetables can really help your child to gain an understanding of change and how things grow. By nurturing the plant, watering it and making sure it gets plenty of sun, the children learn how the plant reacts by growing and offering flowers and/or fruit and vegetables. Some of the simplest things to grow are tomato plants, sweet peas and sunflowers. I plan to grow a sunflower with my daughter this year, especially as she seems to have developed an interest in giving her toys a shower in the bath with her watering can!!
If you have a space in your garden, you can create your child's very own digging and growing area. This can therefore be how they want it to be. You can add windmills, a rockery, models as well as a range of plants which your child have planted themselves. If you do not have an area in the garden, a planting pot or a window box can be just as fun.
It isn't only about learning about how they grow and reaping the benefits, but also about how things can go wrong!! I have had plenty of situations where i have tried to grow things and they haven't worked out. It gives them an opportunity to consider why the plants haven't grown as they would have wanted. Did they have enough sun, too much water or were they in the wrong part of the garden??
Herbs are a fantastic type of plant to grow in the garden. We grow lavender, thyme and mint at the moment, and already our daughter has begun to understand that the leaves smell. Children benefit from the senses in the garden. Touch, smell, sound, taste and sight can all be covered in one garden display!! You can add wind chimes or large plants which make a sound in the wind as their leaves touch, grow your own food to taste, herbs for smell and for texture........there are so many possibilities!!
There is nothing quite so satisfying for children as the chance to dig in the mud. Hunting for worms and bugs in the soil can give children the opportunity to feel the soil, smell it and gain understanding of the mini beasts that help the garden function. Compost heaps also are another handy learning tool, showing children how food cuttings, leaves and old teabags can change into soil over time to help the garden grow!!
I would love to hear how your child has learnt from the garden, and how you have created an area for your child to grow things, if you have. Please email me or leave a comment on my facebook page!!