Resource: Montessori Nature
Spring has arrived, and with Summer just around the corner we are ready to run outdoors and bask in the warm sunshine! It's been a long winter cooped up inside, made even harder with the pandemic hanging over our heads. One great activity to get everyone safely out of the house is getting down and dirty with some gardening!
Simple gardening such as planting a seed and caring for it as it grows or repotting flowers for everyone to enjoy, can be done with or without a backyard. As long as you have a plot of dirt or some pots and soil, you are good to go!
If you do not have backyard space to plant in, find a spot on your porch, patio, balcony or kitchen. Grab some soil and a pot or planter box, and get to gardening! Afterward, place your new plant somewhere it will receive the amount of sunlight it requires. Many plants thrive in direct sunlight, others prefer a bit of shade.
Horticulture and Child Development
Learning how to nurture plants throughout their growth cycle teaches children of all ages important skills. It grows their love and respect for nature and encourages them to care about protecting the environment. They learn reliability and responsibility, caring for the plant day after day, and feel how rewarding it is to see the fruits of their labor emerge (blooming flowers, veggies and fruit they can munch on). Not to mention, growing your own fruits and vegetables help children understand where food comes from.
"It goes without saying that gardening and fine motor skills go hand in hand... children have to move around a lot to tackle tasks like watering, fertilizing, pruning, mounting plant stakes, digging, weeding, bending and gathering, organizing and storing seeds." Montessori Nature
Playing outdoors with fresh air and a fun task helps reduce and manage stress in children and is a great physical activity to get the jitters out. It boosts self-confidence in themselves and their abilities and is a wonderful family bonding opportunity.
Introduce Gardening to Your Babe
At first, it may be difficult for small children to understand the point of gardening. That's okay, this should be a fun activity that allows them to play and engage all of their senses: touch, taste, smell, sound and sight. We recommend picking up some of these fun items to get them excited. Introduce the subject to your child by reading an informative children's book explaining how to garden, what we can grow and how we use the food we grow!
- Lola Plants a Garden is a lovely book recommended for ages 2 to 5, that even small tots can enjoy because of it's beautiful illustrations. Lola and her mommy go to the store and purchase seeds for the flowers they wish to grow. They dig and plant the seeds, then practice patience as they wait for them to grow. Written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.
- Vgo's Kids Latex Gardening Gloves encourage digging and gripping plants and weeds, and add quite a bit of extra protection for small sensitive hands. Kids will love getting "hands on" with them!
- Melissa & Doug's Giddy Buggy Cultivator & Trowel Set includes a small hand trowel and rake, makes gardening easier and promotes gross motor skills and hands-on exploration outside. Recommended for ages 3+.
- Let your child pick out their favorite flowers, veggies or fruit through Burpee, then plant the seeds and watch them grow! Children become more invested in the gardening process when they get to choose a plant they are interested in.
- Grab a Gardening Watering Can in your style from Sun Squad, and gently water your seeds until they sprout!
- Suncrown's Wooden Raised Garden Bed Planter Box is great for your yard or patio, or for something smaller check out Growneer's 3 Pack Rectangular Window Box Planter.
- Clean up from an afternoon in the dirt with Healthy Hand Wash, a gentle wash that cleans without stripping natural moisture, leaving little hands soft and fresh!
What are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun!