A great way for your child to learn more about the world around them is to spend more time out in the garden. Introducing them to new plants and wildlife, giving them the opportunity to touch, taste and smell new things, will broaden their knowledge and help to keep their busy minds active.
It doesn’t matter how big your garden is. It may be a large enough space to accommodate 8×12 greenhouses, or you may only have space for a for a few pots and window boxes. Either way, getting your child out into the sunshine and discovering how nature works, is a wonderful way to spend your time together. Just don’t forget a sunhat and sunscreen to protect them in the warmer months.
Here are a just a few great ways to explore the garden with your children.
Give your child a plot of land
Be it soil in a plant pot or a small patch of the garden, create an area for your children to call their own and plant some seeds. Children can be very impatient and will expect quick results. Telling them to wait until the following season for their seeds to grow is not going to cut it with your little ones. To avoid them losing interest in gardening, buy seeds that grow relatively quickly. Cress and sunflowers sprout in no time and will give your child a sense of achievement.
Use their senses
The garden is a perfect place to stimulate your child’s senses. Flowers come with their own distinctive colours and aromas and the texture on each plant may feel different. There is the sound of birds and other small animals crawling through the undergrowth. Even children with sensory impairment will be able to discover new aspects of the world around them as they explore the garden.
Grow their own food
Many children think food comes from the supermarket, and in some cases, out of a tin. Surprise them with the knowledge that they can grow their own fruit and vegetables. Whatever you grow, from strawberries to carrots, your child will have pride in their involvement in putting food on your family’s plates. It may even quell their fussy eating habits too.
Care for wildlife
Give your child responsibility in looking after other living creatures. Use a picture book to talk about what kind of creatures live outside and then head off into the garden to find them. If you don’t have a garden, the local park will be just as exciting. Look for ladybirds, worms, snails and insects. Allow your child to gently hold them, experiencing how each creature looks and feels.
Care for the land
As your child begins to learn about the garden, give them the equipment to get to work on their piece of land. You can easily buy a set of plastic tools online or at your local supermarket. Giving them a watering can to look after the seeds they have planted, and a trowel to dig up any weeds nearby is going to give them new purpose and enhance their fine motor skills.