It’s always an enjoyable experience to get outside, and the garden is one of the best places to have some family fun, and it offers many benefits for your child.
Their own backyard is a great way to start to learn worldly lessons, such as understanding more about the environment around them, getting active at home and exploring and learning about the types of plants in their garden.
So, if you and your little one are green fingered, or want to experience something new and exciting, here are some of the advantages of gardening as a family.
Lessons to be learnt
Going outside has been proven to increase engagement with learning in general, amongst children.
By doing activities together in your garden, you’re a setting an example to your child that learning can take place anywhere, and that having the opportunity to learn is a good thing and can be a lot of fun.
It’s also a good way to make them naturally more active.
The act of growing any plants and flowers helps children to begin to understand about life cycles, from examining the colour of leaves or how water is absorbed by the soil. The blooming of flowers or the shedding of petals can also help to explain how the seasons work in the UK.
Plants with seeds or fruit are a good way to show where our food comes from, promote a healthy eating and lifestyle, and an interesting way to get your little ones to try new food.
When it comes to the type of things you can grow in your own garden, sunflowers can provide many benefits for you and your family.
You can incorporate growing them with a neighbourhood project, such as a sunflower walk, where you can see and document the stages of the sunflower in different people’s front gardens. Or you can tie it in with your child’s nursery outdoor learning and gardening activities, such as the Kiddi Caru Sunflower Competition.
These beautiful, yellow plants can provide many more benefits than simply what can be learnt from growing them.
As aforementioned, the flower provides a healthy stock of free edible seeds, which can help your child understand how food is grown and what makes a healthy diet. They’re a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and other nutrients.
Sunflowers also attract wildlife to your garden, such as birds and bees, as they’re the perfect food source for them.
Watching these animals can help young child to learn about their environment, wildlife and how nature works. If your children are older, growing sunflowers is also a gateway to understanding more about pollination and pollinators.
Stimulating the senses
As your child grows, they are constantly exploring through their sense of touch, sight, sound, taste and smell – and your own garden is a fantastic place for them to develop these senses.
Planting brightly coloured flowers or using colourful plant pots can help to enrich their gardening experience. These plants can also vary in texture and many are soft to touch, meaning your little one can enjoy getting their hands stuck in.
The sounds of the garden are also important.
You can include rustling plants and bushes to enhance what can be heard in the garden. Why not base an activity around this, creating a picture or a checklist of the different stimulated senses?
Adding this extra layer to your garden enrichment will especially help children with special needs or sensory impairments, as all elements of the garden can then be explored and enjoyed by everyone in your family.
It’s important to encourage physical activity, and getting in the garden is always a fun way to do this. Not only does the process of planting and gardening get everyone moving together, your little one could improve their fine motor skills by using the equipment involved.
It’s a good idea to invest in some child-friendly, mini-tools that they can hold and use by themselves.
Start with a simple watering can, that can usually be found adorned with colourful patterns or their favourite cartoon character. Then you can go on to mini rakes, trowels and spades for your little gardener to enjoy using.