Garden activities for children
Gardening and child development
Gardening with the children is a great way to spend quality time with them and also develop their knowledge and understanding of the environment. Children love to help and feel useful, and this is an ideal activity for them to be involved in as it enhances their development in many ways.
Gardening activities for children
It doesn't matter the size of the garden, as there are plenty of activities that children can do. These are some of the things that they can be involved in:
- Planting and growing seeds
- Digging and preparing the ground
- Creating a little wildlife garden
- Growing fruit/vegetables to eat
- Raking fallen leaves
When gardening with children, there are a number of factors to consider to ensure that the gardening activities are safe:
- Ensure that the tools they are using are safe and age appropriate
- Supervise the children at all times
- Gloves should be worn whilst gardening
- Ensure children wash their hands when finished
- Check that any plants you have are not poisonous
- Ensure that the soil is free from chemicals
- Always ensure that children cannot get access to dangerous tools or substances - keep in a locked shed.
How gardening can aid your childs development
Gardening encourages communication and language as they talk to you about what they are doing. Encourage them to perhaps count plants or leaves while they garden - this increases their numeracy skills.
Their physical development is enhanced by the movement and excercise they do whilst helping in the garden. Children's knowledge and understanding is also enhanced as they learn about growing and nurturing plants. An idea would be to allow your child to have a small piece of the garden that they are responsible for. They could sow some seeds or grow a few plants. Get them to take photos of their little garden and plan and record what they see as their plants grow. Maths skills could be put into practice here as they could measure the plants. Make them responsible for maintaining their plot by giving them the opportunity to weed and water when required.
A great idea for getting children interested in wildlife and insects is to allow them to create an insect garden. All that is required is an old log with some holes drilled in several places. After a few weeks, they can see the different insects who live there, and by lifting the log carefully they will see a number of different creatures that they can study. Always get them to replace the log carefully in the same spot afterwards. Children like to feel useful and valued, so another way that they can encourage wildlife into the garden is to leave some food out on the bird tray or allow them to fill up the bird feeders. They will soon see in the winter months that the birds will regularly visit the garden in their search for food.
We are lucky enough to have a family of foxes living at the bottom of our garden, so I encourage my daughter to leave out some food scraps and we can usually see them come out to feed at night.
Gardening with children is beneficial in many ways apart from enhancing their knowledge, understanding and development. It is also a great way to spend quality time with them whilst outside in the fresh air. Giving your child the opportunity to experience different activities throughout their childhood will help their self esteem, boost their confidence and give them a sense of achievement.