Gardening helps younger children with their development and provides them with the skills needed to navigate the world efficiently. Gardening helps the kiddos practice locomotor, management, and object control skills as they haul materials back and forth to put the garden together and to water it. They also learn balance and hand eye coordination. Fine motor skills include whole hand grasping and the pincer grasp. You see those skills demonstrated whenever they pick up something like a hoe or a rake.
Another important factor in physical development is sensory stimulation. Younger children need to see, feel, hear, taste and smell as many different things as possible to grow into well rounded adults. Feeling the water cascading across ones skin is excellent sensory stimulation ! For many kids too it’s the highlight of gardening. There’s also the texture of the soil beneath your toes and between your fingers. You can smell the flowers. You can see the explosion of colors. And with much of what’s planted, you can taste it too !
As you know, one of our core values is literacy. Literacy skills can easily be a part of gardening as well. As you plant and garden together you can teach them the different names we have for each plant and they can help you read the instructions on the back of the seed packets. You could also have them help you draw out a map with a key so you know what is planted where. Alternatively they can help you make signs to stick by each plant type.
Gardening can help children with cognitive development too. They glean intellectual skills such as remembering and analyzing information. They also learn to accurately predict outcomes by seeing how the different weather and unforeseen occurrences affect the plants. To boost this skill, as you go through the process, ask your child what they think you’re about to do next.
Last but not least, actually what’s most important, is the bonding that takes place while gardening. The togetherness with no electronics, just nature, helps to build up your Childs emotional intelligence. You get to use this time, undistracted, to see more about how your child thinks, what why do and don’t like and how capable they are.
Will you be gardening this year ? Let us know your experience in the comments !