Working in the garden creates a unique opportunity to introduce new or emerging life skills. Children are naturally curious about how the world works, and the garden is a perfect place to explore those curiosities. Help children get their hands dirty and see the fruits of their labor!
What life skills can children learn while working in the garden?
Taking on the task of working in a garden helps children feel personal responsibility. They can take pride in completing assigned tasks, and seeing the results of consistent work. You can assign specific jobs while tending the garden. Creating a rotation of responsibilities can help ensure all children stay engaged. Roles could include: gathering/measuring water, watering plants, making observations (height/harvest output/etc.), harvesting ripe fruits and vegetables, or pulling weeds.
2. Math skills
Gardening creates a multitude of opportunity for practicing and generalizing math skills. Children can count seeds during planting, measure water, measure or observe plant growth, and track the output of produce from the garden. Bring math outside into the sunshine!
Harvesting food from the garden creates teaching opportunities about good nutrition. Children have the opportunity to try new healthy foods, talk about making healthy food choices, and are exposed to foods they may not have tried at home. Children are creating connections to where their food comes from, and how much work it takes to get onto their dinner plate.
4. Sensory exposure
Working in the dirt opens up a new world of sensory experiences. Children can explore the feeling of dirt, water, wiggling worms, and working with their bodies outdoors. These new sensory experiences build connections in the brain, and encourage language and motor development. Children will create fun and positive experiences with new smells, textures, and tastes.
5. Observation skills
The garden is a great place for conversation! Talk with children about what they see, smell, taste, feel, and hear! Children are learning to notice and process the world around them. Help them make specific observations. Introduce new vocabulary!
Some examples of good conversation starters include:
“Do the flowers smell the same or do they smell different?”
“Can you see what vegetables are ready for picking? How do you know they are ready?”
“How have the plants changed since our last visit?”
“Lets name the parts of the plant you can see”. Utilize a Root Garden to explore the parts of plants that are underground.
Life long skills can be introduced or expanded upon while working in the garden. You are helping to spark a passion for gardening and the outdoors. Take them outside and let them get dirty!
Let the Root Garden guide the learning process by allowing children to see everything as it grows!
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