There is a growing movement to get children outdoors and into the natural world. The natural world can give children instant responses to their curiosity through all of their senses as they touch, taste, smell, see and hear what is going on around them. Such connections tend to foster an ethic of care for the natural environment and the life systems within it.
One way to get children involved in the natural world is through gardening. The garden is place for exploration and discovery. Children’s natural curiosity is fostered when they see a seed turn into a plant, or encounter different types of plants that may surprise, such as purple carrots – so different to the standard orange carrots you buy at the supermarket. They also discover a whole world of bugs and insects that inhabit different parts of the garden.
The garden can be a place of fun and enjoyment where children share experiences, develop social skills, and foster friendships, or it can be a place of peace where they can sit and take time out from the busyness of their world.
The garden is the perfect setting for developing observation skills. Observing the little seedling poking through the soil, or watching the bee as it feeds on the nectar from the flowers. Noticing the movement of the soil as it comes to life with bugs and worms. Listening to the sound of leaves as they move in the trees when the wind blows. The list is endless.
It can also be a place for healthy risk taking, both physically and emotionally - what happens when I take off my shoes and socks and feel the soil between my toes? Or what happens when I problem solve with my peers to water the garden?
Physical risk taking in the garden supports children to gain confidence in their own abilities and understand what they are capable of as they learn to use garden tools, how to weed, water and harvest their crops.
Emotional risk taking in the garden supports children to show leadership, courage and develop friendships that they may not be able to do in other situations. Children who struggle to control their emotions may learn self-control through the physical aspects of gardening.
As you can see, there are endless benefits to involve children in gardening, so why wait? Start now…
I can help you get started, or support you to develop what are already doing.