Children can learn so much from experiences in the garden. If you’ve ever climbed trees as a child yourself and played between branches and canopy, you probably recall the memory fondly. Playing in the garden isn’t just a way for children to have fun, it’s also a way for them to learn about the world of plants. A child-friendly garden should be more than just a playground. Children can learn how to identify plants by touching them and experimenting with them. Beginning in kindergarden, children can shed their shyness by connecting with the natural world and can soon learn to identify and name different plants and animals.
What’s That Plant Called?
There are so many things that kids can do in the garden: climbing to their heart’s content, collecting leaves, flowers, and fruits, or even building a treehouse. Kids can experience the changing seasons by observing trees, especially in the case of fruit trees. The development of fruit can be observed after the trees finish blossoming and then children can help harvest the fruit. Picking and eating fruit fresh from the garden is actually a way to learn about plants and nature in a fun, playful way.
Discovering Nature Undisturbed
There’s always something entertaining that can be done in the garden, no matter the season. Children generally enjoy playing outside and in the safety of the garden they can move freely and test their abilities. Behind trees and bushes, hidden from the eyes of grown-ups, children are free to come up with the most imaginative games.
Bringing Wildlife Into the Garden
Trees and bushes are not only great places to hide and play, they are also great habitat for animals. Insects, birds, and other small animals make their homes here and bring life into the garden. Children can develop an interest in animals by observing wildlife. You might consider building and placing a birdhouse in the garden. If you hang it right in front of a window near the house, you and your child can easily observe the birds from the comfort of the indoors. These kinds of experiences with the natural world have an impact on children late in life as their awareness of the environment is developing. Children who have experiences with plants and animals learn their value and are more committed to demanding their protection. (Translation: Joslyn Johnson)