Gardening or gardening with kids are both therapeutic, fun, educational and worth the time spent with it. My parents told me that if you have a green thumb it can be really beneficial specially if you love gardening. In my homeland, my late father had established an area to grow what we eat like banana, taro leaves and crops such as sweet potato and cassava. I grew up with a memories of gardening with my family. Here in the US, We live in a tropical state where palm trees, flowers and variety of plants blooms beautifully. 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 in 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 toddlers and preschoolers. Small objects such as glass beads are choking hazards so take extra precautions for your littles.
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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.” Dr. Maria Montessori (p153 tmm)
Garden Activities For Toddler And Preschoolers
- Decorating the patio– Giving child a task like decorating the patio is something that gives them a sense of responsibility and self confidence.
- 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 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!
- 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.
“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- Let children walk barefooted in a grass, beach sand, soil and smooth stones.
- Smelling flowers and herbs– A good activity to exercise sensory perception for your little ones. Choose plants in your garden that are safe for children.
- Child size patio and pool– 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.
- Insect observation– Observing 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.
- Cutting leaves- 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.
- Writing/Drawing on a chalkboard, white board or doodler pad– Also a fun tools to use 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 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.
- Giving her another small task like weeding– Young children loves to help and experience something that they usually see from their parents or environment. Next thing you know, your child will be volunteering to do garden works for you.
- Let them explore– Observe, keep your distance, don’t talk. Let the child concentrate on something interesting to 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)