Discover Nature with Children While Gardening
When the first delicate blossoms open in spring and glow in the sun, nature awakens from its winter sleep. And not just flowers – children also begin to blossom when the temperatures climb. Finally they can frolic around outside to their heart’s content. It’s also a great time to get everyone together to get the garden ready for planting. Sowing plants or flowers, mowing the lawn, and growing fruits and vegetables provide relaxation and variety during the sometimes hectic and stressful everyday life. Discover with us how much fun gardening with children is, and how many opportunities it offers children to have great experiences and at the same time learn a lot about the relationships in nature.
Experience the wonders of nature up close
It is incredibly exciting for children to experience the nature around them up close. Which animals live in a meadow or flower bed? How far does a grasshopper hop? How does a brilliant butterfly develop from a caterpillar? How does a beautiful blooming flower or an orange pumpkin grow from a tiny seed? And how does a stately tomato plant with delicious ripe fruit grow from an inconspicuous seedling? All these are real wonders of nature that children get easily inspired about. So quickly grab a magnifying glass, a small sand shovel and a sand bucket for collecting objects – and off you go on an expedition to the flower bed.
When gardening, children experience in a fun way a lot about nature, the seasons, and ecological relationships. There will be no apples without bees, and without compost radishes won’t grow as well. Bees especially are very important for the growth of many plants. If you would like to learn or hear more about these industrious animals and what a little honey bee experiences, take a look at our article Facts Worth Knowing about Bees and the story of Hanna Honeybee in Trouble.
If your children are old enough to have their own flower or vegetable bed, they will learn to take responsibility for their plants and that these are living things that grow and thrive but also shrivel up and die. Especially for children who grow up without their own garden, these experiences are especially fascinating. For they experience “live” so to speak that fruits and vegetables do not grow in the supermarket.
Gardening engages all of the senses
Seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and tasting – gardening is an activity for all of the senses. Many flowers have colorful blooms, and the leaves of trees and shrubs shine in a variety of shades of green. With the help of the colorful pictures on seed packets, children can pick out flowers in their favorite colors, and they will be delighted when they finally bloom. In the garden or on the balcony, you can touch and feel all sorts of things: for example, grass or flagstones under the soles of your feet and bark or leaves in your hand.
And how differently the flowers smell! Children also love to smell freshly mowed grass. They love to gather grass clippings and build little nests out of them. Even the compost heap that is rather “stinky” is part of the garden. Furthermore, there is humming and buzzing all over the garden when bumblebees and honeybees visit the blossoms in the summer. Crickets chirp in the evening and birds twitter all day long. In their own garden, children can listen to the heartbeat of nature and learn how to listen carefully.
But the best is yet to come: there is nothing sweeter than a freshly picked ripe strawberry! Cherries, cucumbers, or tomatoes are also waiting to be nibbled. A great variety of fruits and vegetables as well as herbs can be grown in a garden or on the balcony. Whatever the young children plant in “their” garden, they of course also will want to try out. Anyone who has put on the table spaghetti with tomato sauce from their own garden will know how proud your own offspring will be of the fruits of their own labor. But caution: not everything that grows in a garden can be eaten. Some plants are poisonous – and that is an important lesson that children learn while gardening.