“Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?” We’re not sure about Mary’s garden, but your childcare center’s garden will thrive with water, sunshine, and lots of TLC from the kids. When childcare teachers provide gardening opportunities to children, it gives them an excuse to get their hands get grubby, and spend some time with Mother Nature.
Gardening not only allows children to interact with nature, this activity teaches them about nutrition, provides sensory experiences, instills valuable life lessons, promotes respect for living things, and introduces basic educational concepts.
The types of gardens kids can grow in childcare centers are limitless. Youngsters can grow flowers, herbs, vegetables, or they can mix and match. Kids can also center their garden around a theme. For instance, if children wanted to grow a salsa-themed garden, they would plant tomatoes, cilantro, and onions. The children in your classroom will enjoy thinking of creative ideas for their childcare garden.
Short on space? No problem. Vegetable plants and flowers can grow anywhere, as long as the weather is appropriate, and there is access to plenty of sunlight. Be creative. Use a corner of the playground, a sandbox, a wagon, or a few mid-sized pots. A childcare garden can also flourish indoors. If the garden is planted indoors, take the plants outside regularly for a bit of sunshine.
Kids are not always willing to try new foods. But when they grow their own food, they are more likely to eat it. Gardening is the perfect way for childcare providers to introduce children to new types of vegetables, and talk to them about the benefits of eating healthy.
Digging in the dirt provides a calming effect that helps children relax. Feeling the earth between the fingers also provides sensory experiences that are vital to children’s brain development.
Basic Math and Science Concepts
During gardening activities children learn basic math and science concepts whenever they name plants, explore lifecycles, discover what plants need to survive, measure dirt and water, estimate plant growth, measure plants, arrange flower baskets, and learn about the critters that live their garden.
When kids plant seeds, care for them, and wait for the plants to grow, they learn patience, responsibility, and how to nurture living things. By growing their own food, kids also learn self-sufficiency. These are all valuable skills youngsters can use throughout life.
Starting a childcare garden is not only fun for kids, this activity stimulates their brain development, teaches them about nature, helps them develop values, and gives them simple lessons in math, science, and nutrition.