With more of us spending time at home, for many the outdoors has been our sanctuary and saviour.
We are all aware of the benefits of fresh air and the outdoors and for those lucky enough to have a garden simple gardening practices have a range of benefits too?
National Children’s Gardening Week celebrates the fun that gardens hold for kids, parents and grandparents and their website offers lots of ideas for fun garden projects and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Gardening can benefit children of all ages as it provides a great opportunity for children to learn.
Women Talking look at the main benefits children can experience by helping out in the garden:
Gardening can heighten all senses in children. Whether playing or working on a practice task, children can feel the texture of the dirt, the plants, fruit, leaves and seeds. They can see the vibrant or delicate colours and sizes of flowers and the bugs and wildlife making their homes outdoors. They can hear the sound of leaves rustling and the wind blowing through the trees and they can smell fresh herbs and the abundance of garden fragrances. Most importantly they can taste the outcome of their hard work! By engaging all five senses, gardening can help children to better understand the process of gardening and where their food comes from.
Undertaking a gardening project can teach responsibility to children. It is no easy task growing a plant from a seed, it takestime and endurance. Allowing a child to be in charge of a project is exciting and fun and gives them a better understanding of the role they play in taking care of plants.
Motor Skill Development – Planting seeds, scooping dirt and watering plants all help to improve motor skills, which can in term help to improve their concentration and learning capabilities.
Eating Garden Produce is satisfying – Getting children to eat their fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. When they are involved in the planting and growing process, they are more likely to try something new, and with luck, they might like it!
There are so many parts of gardening which introduce children to basic concepts of science and mathematics. Math concepts can include counting seeds, measuring soil depth and counting petals/leaves. Science concepts can include the sprouting process and gaining an understanding of how plants require sunlight and water to grow.
In addition to these wonderful benefits from gardening, the process of growing your own fruit and vegetables teaches children to be patient. When flowers do bloom and fruit is ready to be picked, the process is far more exciting when you have been involved from start to finish.