Gardening and gardening with kids are both therapeutic, fun, educational and worth the time spent with it. Research suggest that it is essential for young kids to develop a “healthy microbiome” or personal microbe ecosystem. From the book “Dirt Is Good” by Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist and co-author states that “The immune system is there to act like a gardener or a national park warden. It’s there to promote the abundance and growth of good bacteria and act as a barrier to the generation of bad bacteria”. Gardening is a perfect movement activity and of course your child needs to move! MOVEMENT helps young child’s body grows and it is also necessary for their BRAIN development.
Together with the whole family, spending our time outdoors working at the garden are always a memorable one. I cherish those moments I’m helping my Dad to grow fruits and vegetables at our backyard. This memories stays with me forever and to keep those memories alive, I am sharing in this blog our precious moments at the garden with my now three year old daughter Audrey. This activities are perfect for preschoolers and young kids. Small objects are choking hazards so take extra precautions for the little ones.
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“It is true that man has created enjoyments in social life and has brought about a vigorous human love in community life. But nevertheless he still belongs to nature, and, especially when he is a child, he must needs draw from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit.”
Garden Activities For Preschooler
Decorating The Patio
Giving child a “task” like decorating the patio is something that gives them a sense of responsibility, boost their confidence and self esteem.
Creating A Mini Garden
This is a fun activity for sensory play in the garden. I give her some glass beads, pebbles, rough stones, miniature fairy garden set and a mini pool. Then I show her how I decorate and place it in a bin with stones. This mini pool or tub is her favorite hang out in our garden. She can play there for hours without interruptions just toss some ball, pool noodles, rubber duckies and other toys. You can also convert this into a reading area just place some blanket or picnic mat and throw pillows on it!
“But it for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of nature.” Dr. Maria Montessori (p155 tmm)
Grounding- “The best shoe is no shoe at all”
According to expert Tracy Byrne specializing in Podopaediatrics, walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot arch, improves “proprioception” or the awareness of where we are. With this theory, I believe every child belongs to nature.
Let children walk barefooted in a grass, beach sand, soil and smooth stones with adult supervision.
Smelling Flowers And Herbs (Olfactory)
A good activity to exercise sensory perception for your little ones. According to the recent research study, the nose can detect at least one trillion distinct scents. Choose plants in your garden that are safe for children.
Child Size Patio
I set up this cute mini patio area to give her a personal space to play, read and explore something new to her. I also place some child size chair, her gardening pail, mini bird house that she painted recently and a picnic mat to hang out or just simply lay there at night for moon and stars sighting. Of course the mini pool was her favorite play area.
Observation of ants in an ant hill. She knows that stepping on an ant hill would hurt her feet so she’s really careful not to step on it.
A good activity to strengthen hand muscles. You can also find more inspirations and ideas from my blog 15 Effective Fine Motor Activities
Painting A Bird House
Kids love to paint. A wooden unfinished birdhouse is an excellent tool to let your child engage in an activity that strengthen their hand muscles and at the same time fuel their creativity by deciding what color to apply and materials to put in it for decoration.
Drawing On A Chalkboard Or Whiteboard
Also a fun activity to do during summer. Kids enjoy doodling anything. A colored chalk, washable pens and markers, paints, stencils are best match with this fun activity outdoors.
Watering The Plants
Children in nature loves to help and contribute to our daily task. This simple task can be an exciting part of a child’s development that they can apply as they grow older.
Assigning A Task Like Weeding
Young children likes to help and experience something that they usually see from their family. I choose the smallest and lightest weeder available for her. Next thing you know, your child will be volunteering to do garden works for you.
Let Them Explore
Observe, keep your distance, step back, be silent for a while. Let the child concentrate on something really interesting to her. Give the child the opportunity to be connected with our mother nature. The child is concentrating on something that is highly important on her development and that is using her multi sensory perception on anything around her.
“The human being is a united whole, but this unity’s to be built up and formed by active experiences in the real world, to which it is led by the laws of nature.” (The Absorbent Mind p.203)
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