Gardening offers a large range of fun opportunities for learning and development as well as teaching your child lifelong lessons.
These can include learning about environmental issues, different types of plants, animals and bugs, what helps plants grow, how the seasons work, how weather effects things and more!
So, with the weather getting warmer (slowly…), there’s no better way to spend time outdoors with your little one – plus you get to grow your own, a great way to be more sustainable.
If you don’t have a garden or balcony, why not look at allotments (click here for more information), sign up for a local family gardening club or even plant something small on your windowsill!
In this guide will cover the developmental benefits of gardening, how to get started and additional resources.
Let’s jump right in.
Helping physical development
Developing your child’s fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and physical strength via watering, digging, carrying etc.
It’s all about the senses
Sensory play like feeling petals and seeds, smelling herbs etc. helps your little one be more engaged in their learning process. You can use it as a way to get them counting, crafting and loads more.
Click here for our full guide to sensory play.
Teaches about responsibility and patience
Growing plants is all about care and patience, it’s a great way to introduce your little one to concepts around taking responsibility.
Helps them understand the world around them
Helping your child understand wider topics surrounding nature e.g. learning about bugs and why they are important to our eco-system, giving them better appreciation for nature and all things natural.
Learning about healthy eating and environmental issues
Providing a good opportunity to discuss the importance of eating healthy and being eco-conscious.
Growing your own also gives your little one a sense of accomplishment making them more likely to eat what they grew and feel more confident overall!
Develops social skills
You can either involve a sibling in the process or start a mini gardening club of your own. Children working together will help them develop social skills like communication and compromise.
If you’re not in a position to do this with others, it’s still a great opportunity to help your little one develop their language and communication skills – just be sure to keep chatting to them about the process.
Do your research
We’ve listed some resources below – be sure to check them out and start your own research. The more information you have the better you will be prepared to get started!
Some questions to help you kickstart your research and make an action plan:
· What seeds should you plant for what season and what are the best plants for your little one,
· What do you have space for,
· What can you manage with your time,
· How to engage your little one in conversation and activity,
· What tools and supplies will you need (child friendly tools etc.),
· What will you need to keep in mind to keep your child safe.
*Top tip: make a list of what you need before going shopping!
There are a few things to consider (and prepare for) before getting started:
· Weather issues - rain, wind or apparently now snow too!
· Young children get distracted – let them go on a learning journey of their own but try to be prepared with other activities they can go between (some listed in resources below).
· Don’t wear your best clothes – gardening can get messy.
Don’t forget this should be an activity you both enjoy.
Select plants that will bring both you and your little one joy and take the time to bond over a shared activity.
RHS - getting children interested in gardening and guide to get started – click here.
BBC - guide to gardening with children – click here.
Messymotherhood.com - beginners guide to gardening with kids – click here.
Better Health - guide to gardening for children – click here.
BBC - top 7 tips for gardening with children – click here.
Gardeners World - tips for gardening with children – click here.
Gardeners World - 10 gardening projects for kids – click here.
Wonderaventures.co.uk - gardening activities – click here.
rockandrollpussycat.co.uk – gardening safety – click here.
Sow Clever growing kits - click here.
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