Technological advances mean that children are spending more time indoors. However, it’s still vital that we inform them of the enjoyment that can be found outdoors….and you don’t have to go far! It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, there are plenty of opportunities to get children out into the fresh air.

Play bark suppliers, Compost Direct, have come up with some tips for childcare providers on how to educate children through gardening.

Early years development

Playing in the garden is a great way to develop the early years skills in younger children. Messy play aids their sensory and cognitive development, while allowing them to have fun. Research shows that there are many advantages to messy play and that this form of activity, albeit unstructured, can help a child develop immensely. It’s possible to do this in the garden by using water, sand and mud. You must break down the usual rules that may face a child, including being solely restricted to a play mat. You should encourage them to draw shapes using a range of child-friendly tools. This aids the development of finger and arm muscles which can help when it comes to tasks such as holding a pen.

The garden also exposes a child to many new textures. It allows them to get used to handling solid objects and if you let children be around mud, they will also get used to softer materials which in turn will help them compare and understand new textures.

General learning

If the weather allows, why not complete tasks outside? Children often spend all day behind a desk when they’re at school, so change the environment and head outdoors wherever possible. A gazebo or table and chairs can be a great investment. Eighty-five percent of teachers stated that teaching lessons outdoors led to a positive behavioural impact, while 92% of pupils also said they preferred lessons that were held outdoors.

About healthy eating

According to studies, if a child embarks on the ‘grow your own veg’ journey, they are more likely to eat fresh fruit and veg later in life. This means that getting kids outside can improve their diet. A selection of simple fruit and veg you can grow include strawberries, cabbage, potatoes and radishes. Select a size of patch you can use and ask the children to keep an eye on what is growing.

Jobs for little helpers

Children love to be in charge, don’t they? Give them some responsibility and set them tasks to carry out each day. Doing this should see them become excited to spend time in the garden.

An easy task could be to get them to grow a sunflower. They would have to check daily how it’s progressing, and it can also help their maths skills as they can measure the growth. Often, a sunflower will grow to be taller than the child, so this will also keep them entertained.

Source: here | Credit: Jamie Roberts - copywriter at Mediaworks

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