Do you love gardening and want to find a way to pass that love down to your children? The garden is an amazing space to learn and play with your child. From toddlers to teens, everyone can benefit from having an outdoor space that encourages learning and exploration.
Here is how to create a garden for children to play and learn and how to use the space you create for the most benefit.
Why You Should Create a Garden For Your Children
A garden is a great place to learn and play. Your child can spend time in the garden exploring science topics like plants’ life cycles, insects, and weather.
This garden can have areas for observing insects like butterflies, an area for playing with sand or water, and even a fairy garden setup for imaginative play to help them develop creativity.
Outdoor play and learning are essential for children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. It allows them to explore, discover, and learn about the natural world, as well as develop important skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and teamwork.
Creating a garden specifically for your children allows them to have a dedicated space for play and learning and provides an opportunity to incorporate elements that promote their development and interests.
This garden gives them space for learning and play without risking your family garden, where you may be growing your family’s food supply or simply giving them their own garden, even if you do not have a regular garden for the whole family.
How to Create a Garden For Your Children
Setting up a garden for your children is easier than you may think. Start with finding a space that fits your needs. If possible, look for an area with both sun and shade available so your children can grow full sun plants while having a shady place to relax.
If you do not have a large enough space for this, make do with what you do have. A tiny garden as small as a single bed is still better than no garden if you have limited space.
Ensure your child’s play garden has easy access to the things they need to care for their garden, from gardening tools to a water source to ensure that their garden can thrive. If you have very young children, consider getting child-size gardening tools so they can help you care for their garden more easily.
If you have the space for a larger garden, create sections for different activities for your child. A weather vane is a wonderful addition to your learning garden, along with fun additions like colorful wind chimes, a water table, or a fairy garden that is designed to inspire your child’s creative play.
Set up a small compost tumbler, a vegetable patch, and a wildflower patch in your garden for your child. This opens up opportunities to learn how food goes from seed to table.
A wildflower patch is the perfect opportunity to talk to your child about native plants and pollinators. This patch not only allows your child to observe pollinators in their play space but helps to attract them to your nearby family garden to help increase your yield of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Making The Most of Your Garden For Learning
Nature journals are an amazing tool for helping your child begin to explore the world up close and personal. Grab a nice notebook or sketchbook and some colored pencils, then head out and spend some time in the garden every day sketching something you find. This can be insects, a plant, or the level of decomposition in your compost pile.
Try using your natural journals to sketch out plants in your garden, from seed to fruit, helping your child look back on the pages of their book to see how the plants have progressed over the entire season.
This can be a great way not only to learn to pay attention to details but to give you something your child can share when people ask about what they are learning.
A great way to make the most of your garden for your child to learn is to spend some time with creative writing. Plant flowers that attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds to your child’s garden area.
These creatures land on flowers like Coneflowers that make them look like little fairies dancing in the wind. You can add accents, like fairy houses and such, to create the perfect space to inspire your child’s imagination for art, writing, and creativity.
Add a weather tracking set to your child’s garden area where they can learn how to read common weather measuring tools, track the weather as seasons change, and get to know the beauty of nature right in the garden for a hands-on science lesson they will never forget.
If the weather is too poor to explore outside, you can use studying the weather as a great indoor activity by pulling up the local weather radar to explore how the weather is tracked professionally.
You can learn math in your garden with your child as well. From helping to plant the garden measuring out the distance between plants to doing basic math using flowers or seeds as math manipulatives, you have many great ways you can use the garden for teaching math.
Have your children harvest food you grow in the garden and weigh it out to track how much food you are growing for a sun experiment that works on weights and measures as well as the addition of much larger numbers and decimals.
Sensory play and fine motor work can be a great way to make the most of your garden with young children. From helping to plant seeds to putting a mud kitchen in your garden for play, the options for sensory interaction and fine motor work for your child.
From digging up worms to making some mud pies, you can have a lot of fun with this.
Heavy work and large motor skills can be worked on through digging to help put in larger plants or move plants around. Pushing around a small wheel barrel or other garden tools helps to build gross motor skills and cross-body strength that helps with advanced motor development and build connections in the brain.
Even if you cannot give your kids their own dedicated garden, there are so many fantastic ways to get kids excited about gardening.