The learning benefits of Gardening.
Spring is a wonderful opportunity to experience the outdoors and get in touch with nature and the joy it can bring. There’s no better way to get your imagination going with these junior gardening tools.
Grab our All Inclusive Limited offer Gardening Kit here to get started.
Gardening is not just therapeutic and fun, it also has wonderful learning opportunities for young children and here’s why:
1. It encourages Sensory Development
It provides children the opportunity to engage all their senses and process the beauty that surrounds them. They can touch, smell and feel the soil, seeds, herbs, vegetables and flowers. They can see the various colours, shapes and sizes nature has to offer, from the various rocks and pebbles, blooming flowers, sprouting seeds and new leaves.
Ways to encourage sensory learning in the garden:
- Getting messy with their hands and feet.
- Sorting out seeds
- Scooping, pouring squeezing and rubbing dirt
- Creating mud with dirt and water
- Writing in the dirt with their fingers
- Saying what their seeds smell like and what vegetables or fruit they can smell.
- Identifying the colour of the dry and wet soil on the colour chart.
- Picking Flowers and harvesting Herbs, Fruit and Vegetables
2. It encourages Healthy Eating
Planting Herbs, Fruit and Vegetables and then harvesting them excites children and gives them a sense of pride. They’ll be much more likely to eat what they’ve helped grow, harvest and prepare. This is a wonderful way to get children to see vegetables in a new light and they’ll learn to love eating their own creations. Gardening also encourages children to try new vegetables and fruit that they’ve not eaten before.
Ways to encourage healthy eating in young children:
- Encourage taste testing straight from the ground after a quick rinse.
- Make a fresh soup straight after picking the vegetables.
- Make a delicious fruit milkshake with freshly picked fruit.
- Encourage children to take their herbs home to give to their parents to cook something healthy with to taste the flavor it adds to the dish.
3. It enhances Fine Motor Development
Young children can practice locomotor skills, body management skills and object control skills while they move from one place to the other carrying tools, soil and water. In effect, these skills are the formation for academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.
Ways to encourage activity in the garden:
- Pushing the wheelbarrow to help carry away rocks and sticks.
- Carry pots and dirt from one garden bed to another.
- Hide treasures or fully-grown veggies in the garden bed to encourage children to dig deep holes as a fun activity to discover them.
- Let children shell peas and pull the little peas out to put them in a bowl. This is a wonderful activity for eye hand coordination.
4. It introduces Science & Curiosity
While having lots of fun, children are learning about life cycles, metamorphosis, germination, botany, entomology, pollinators, caring for the earth and so much more. When they plant their first seeds they become curious about what will happen next. Through gardening, they’re encouraged to make their own hypothesis and monitor the progress of their creations. This is a wonderful way to help children learn the basic steps of the science behind growth. Children can even be encouraged to learn about the impact of sunlight and water on different plants and produce and use their own judgement for future gardening projects.
Ways to encourage science and curiosity in the garden:
- Start off by letting children draw a map of where they want to plant what. This way they’ll be more excited about the project as they’ll be planting what they want to eat.
- Use life cycle posters and specimens to encourage children to point out where their creation currently sits at in its life cycle.
- Let children plant and focus on 3 different plants at the same time, to point out the differences in their growth, the amount of sunlight and water they need. Use markers or tags to help children remember how to take care of each.
- Let children measure the soil’s depth, the distances between plants needed and count the seeds/leaves or flower petals to encourage teachable math moments.
- Construct a geometry lesson around identifying all the shapes that can be found in the garden.
5. It teaches responsibility, organization skills and patience
Gardening is a wonderful way to encourage children to give their best at something that is important and requires attention. Children can become aware of the fact that they have to plan how they’ll take care of their plants and to solve problems in order to keep the plants alive, healthy and growing. They’ll learn how to nurture them and patiently wait for their seeds to sprout and grow into beautiful produce or plants. They’ll soon realize the wonderful reward and excitement of patience and responsibility when the process is complete and successful.
Ways to encourage responsibility, organization and patience:
- Put name sticks of the responsible gardener’s name next to each child’s creation to encourage them to take good care of it when they see their friends’ plants grow.
- Get a large calendar to write the days their plants need watering to help remind them and encourage them to keep their own eyes on the calendar.
- Use pictures of the herbs/plants/produce and stick it on the starting pots or into the garden bed with ice cream sticks next to the plant it belongs to help children stay organized.
Some extra TIPS to keep unattended children busy when doing a group gardening session:
- Encourage children to make fairy soup. By getting a communal bucket of water, children can pick leaves and petals (let them know what they can’t pick) and place them into the ‘soup’ and stir with a wooden stick.
- Giving children a watering spray bottle keeps them happy misting the plants while they wait their turn to plant.
- Let children get imaginary and creative with added toys in the gardening session like wooden treehouses & tree blocks to build their own little pathways in the garden beds for fairy’s and elves.
Ultimately, gardening brings knowledge, closeness to nature, fresh air, healthy eating, good exercise, sensory development and so much more. The garden can truly become a magical play place, it only begins with a sprout and a little imagination.