Make gardening educational with your children

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    Make gardening educational with your children

    You might’ve noticed that your child spends less time playing outside than you did when you were younger. That’s why it’s important for them to know that enjoyment can be found outdoors, too. And you don’t have to go far! As the lighter nights come in, spend time after school in the back garden or down at a local allotment and have fun whilst educating your children.

    For early-years development

    Bring your young children out in the garden to develop their early-years skills.

    One way to do this is through messy play. There is an abundance of research behind the advantages of messy play and how this unstructured form of activity can really help your child develop. This can be done in the garden with sand, water or even mud! It’s all about breaking down the usual rules that your child might face, such as being restricted to a play mat or not being too disruptive with toys. Encourage your child to draw shapes with different (child-friendly) tools and their fingers in various materials — this can help children to build up their finger and arm muscles, which is useful for when they come to hold a pen.

    By being in the garden, a child becomes familiar with new textures and things to touch. They become so used to handling solid objects, such as toys, and these are easy for children to learn because they don’t change shape. For example, letting your child come into contact with mud, a softer material, lets children broaden their knowledge and allows them to compare and understand new textures.

    All-round learning

    Do you help your child complete their school work? Why not take this outside? Your child might have spent all day behind a desk at school doing their work and it’s nice to have a break from this when they come home. Make it easy for your child to work outdoors by purchasing a gazebo or having a table and chairs outdoors where homework can be done. 85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were taught outside. In addition to this, 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons to be outdoors.

    One study discovered that between pupils who learnt indoors and those who learnt outdoors, those who were outside were found to have a better understanding of their responsibility to care for the environment.

    Encourage healthy eating

    Further studies have revealed that when a child grows their own food, they’re more likely to express an interest for that food. This can be a great way to improve their diet and get them outdoors.

    You can grow easy vegetables so that it’s not too complex for them. These include: strawberries, cabbage, radishes and potatoes. You can decide on the size of your patch and watch as your child runs outside to see what has grown that week.

    Helping round the garden

    You might’ve noticed that your child loves to help around the house. Give them some tasks to do daily, or even weekly, and it’s likely that they’ll start to look forward to spending time in the garden.

    For example, getting children outdoors could be by tasking them to grow a sunflower. Each day, your child can head outdoors to see how their plant is growing and practise some maths skills through measuring. This can be exciting for a child, as often the sunflower will grow taller than them!

    Or, get them to help with garden maintenance. Why not get your child involved with keeping the garden tidy? Let them trim the edges of your garden, water the plants or do some de-weeding — it’s a nice way to spend time together, too.

    This article was created by Compost Direct, retailers of mulches and other garden essentials.

    Sources

    http://www.peecworks.org/peec/peec_reports/01795CA8-001D0211.32/CYE_FactSheet3_Benefits%20of%20Gardening%20for%20Children_August%2020.pdf

    Written by Jenson Phillips

    Hi, I'm Jenson. Father of two and living with OCD, read my musings on coping with both and maybe pick up some advice for yourself.