So many children now spend more time indoors using technology than going outside so we need to let them know that there is fun to be had outdoors too – and you don’t need to go too far, just your very own garden. There are some great ways in how gardening can help your kids to learn and leading top soil retailers, Compost Direct have more to tell us:
Playing in the garden is a great way to develop early-years skills. Messy play is a great way to improve sensory and cognitive development and Olivia loves nothing more than plonking herself down in the grass and having a root around the garden. There are so many advantages to messy play and how this unstructured form of activity can really help your child develop so I am keen to encourage it. This can be done in the garden with sand, water or even mud – if your child is like Olivia though, they may try to eat everything! You need to break down the usual rules that your child might face, such as being restricted to a play mat or not being too disruptive with toys. Let them draw shapes with different (child-friendly) tools and use their fingers in various materials —help your children to build up their finger and arm muscles, which is useful for when they come to hold a pen.
There are plenty of new textures that a child can become exposed to from spending time in the garden. 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, aside from the rigid structure of their plastic and wooden toys.
Why not do homework outdoors? After all, your child has probably been indoors doing school work all day! 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. I know I used to love having lessons outside!
In a study 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.
About healthy eating
Research has also discovered that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables or express a preference for that food. This can be a great way to improve their diet and get them outdoors. Jack has always loved to grow his own – and when my father was alive, they used to have a whole garden full of goodies that they were growing. You may remember previous pics of Jack digging up the potatoes he had grown.
Easy fruit and vegetables to grow 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.
Jobs for little helpers
Children often love to have some responsibility and help out in the home or garden. 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. Jack always wants to be a little helper so why not get your child to help in the garden?
One simple task to get children outdoors could be 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! Jack grew one before!
If you are mowing the lawn or potting plants, 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. If the weather brightens up, guess what we are doing this weekend!
What do you do in the garden to aid your child’s learning?