Kids are spending more time indoors, so getting them outside can be a challenge. But you don’t need to head out on a big day out; you can just head out to the garden, or down to your local allotment, to get the children outdoors for a while. A little venture like this can be both fun and educational, as well as creating quality time with your children. Topsoil retailer, Compost Direct, are here to show you how to turn a garden into an educational adventure.
Change up the homework scene
Homework doesn’t need to be done indoors; why not pop outside? Your child might have spent all day behind a desk at school doing their work and it’s nice to have a break from this when they come home. Make it easy for your child to work outdoors by purchasing a gazebo or having a table and chairs outdoors where homework can be done. 85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were taught outside. In addition to this, 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons to be outdoors.
Research shows that learning outside gave kids a better appreciation for their impact on the environment.
Helping out around the garden
Kids love to feel responsible for a task, and a little job in the garden is a great way to encourage this. Give them some tasks to do daily, or even weekly, and it’s likely that they’ll start to look forward to spending time in the garden.
A great garden task could be to grow a sunflower. Each day your child can head outdoors to see how their plant is growing and practise some maths skills through measuring. This can be exciting for a child, as often the sunflower will grow taller than them!
While you’re mowing the lawn, for example, your children could help tidy the garden in general. Let them trim the edges of your garden, water the plants or do some de-weeding — it’s a nice way to spend time together, too.
Encouraging their 5-a-day
Did you know that children who get to grow their own fruit and vegetables are more likely to eat them? This can be a great way to improve their diet and get them outdoors.
Some examples of easy crops to grow are: radishes, potatoes, cabbages, and strawberries. You can decide on the size of your patch and watch as your child runs outside to see what has grown that week.
For younger children
Playing in the garden is an invaluable source of early-years learning. Messy play is a great way to improve sensory and cognitive development, whilst having fun. There is an abundance of research behind the advantages of messy play and how this unstructured form of activity can really help your child develop. This can be done in the garden with sand, water or even mud! It’s all about breaking down the usual rules that your child might face, such as being restricted to a play mat or not being too disruptive with toys. Encourage your child to draw shapes with different (child-friendly) tools and their fingers in various materials — this can help children to build up their finger and arm muscles, which is useful for when they come to hold a pen.
The garden is also host to an array of new textures for your child to experience. They become used to handling solid objects, such as toys, and these are easy for children to learn because they don’t change shape. For example, letting your child come into contact with mud, a softer material, lets children broaden their knowledge and allows them to compare and understand new textures.