Mayhem and Messy Play #13: Kids Gardening Messy Play

Sunny weekends at this time are an invitation to get outside that can’t be resisted plus it’s time for some kids gardening messy play and sensory fun. Mom Ursula M recently posted a photo and a comment about gardening with kids. She said after spending some time showing her son about planting, Lucca“had dirt from head to toe and he loved every second.” She added it was one of the best parts of the day. kids gardening messy play

From a series of posts previously, here is a part about gardens and senses:

In a garden so many activities are touchy-feely. Hands get to dig in the soil, play with mud, find rocks, feel slippery earthworms and fuzzy caterpillars, and oh so gently touch plants. There’s the feeling of the outdoors from the soft breeze, the warm sun, and the cool water. Flowers and herbs are not the only things for smelling, but are probably what smell the best. Gardens are usually quiet places, so ears have to listen carefully. Hands pat the earth softly, the wind rustles the leaves, feet scrunch on the paths, and sometimes birds sing along.

Besides planting, digging is another great and messy gardening activity. While adults use big spades, kids can dig with smaller ones. They will use whatever is handy, be it sand shovels, plastic garden tools, diggers, or their hands. They might even like a turn with the big tools. When it comes time to add water, kids also love using hoses, pails, and watering cans. Water plus dirt makes for even more messy and sensory fun.

kids can help with yard work

While the freedom to make a mess is appealing, messy play also includes the freedom to explore and to question. What will happen to seeds in the ground? Will plants really grow?  How does a worm move? Where does the water go after dropping it on the ground? Adults know the water soaks into the dirt but it’s quite a mystery to kids. Apparently, kids ask over 300 questions a day! With so much to figure out about the world, it’s no wonder kids are full of questions.

kids garden play

Kids gardening messy play is just the start of a connection to nature. More than that, it’s a partnership with kids doing the planting and tending, and nature supplying the rest. Children learn they have a part to play in caring for nature’s gifts and that includes themselves. Will kids gardening messy play be part of your weekend?


Magic Wishes for Preschool/Kindergarten #6: Kids’ Gardening Fun and Learning

Spring is the best time of year for kids’ gardening fun and learning. Do your kids know that food has to grow before we get it at a store? In this series, parents and caregivers of preschool kids are answering the following question:

Q. If you had a magic wand or one wish you could use to conjure up something in a preschool program, care center, or kindergarten, what would that be?

kids' gardening fun and learning

The answers give plenty of food for thought. Patrick, dad of K, wishes his son and other kids could learn about gardening and the value of food. It must be the time of year, because just this week there was a radio interview with a scientist and growing food in space. Growing food in space is more than a science challenge. It’s also a mental and emotional issue, as astronauts find they really miss eating something fresh. Plus, being involved in growing food provides a connection nothing else can. Not only do plants feed bodies they also feed our hearts. Caring and looking after plants can reduce the isolation and loneliness of those in space—and back on Earth too.

There are so many great reasons to include gardening activities for kids, no wonder Patrick wished kids could have access to gardens. Gardens nourish the senses. Think of the smell of soil and water, green plants, and freshness outdoors. Soft, slippery, wet, and sandy are a few of the different textures for sense of touch. With plants and earth, eyes get lots of stimulation. There’s not a lot to hear, or is there? Perhaps this is one reason why gardening is relaxing, the sounds are oh so quiet.

kids' gardening fun and learning

Children not only tune in to their senses, but to their own nature. They also learn about being patient and responsible. The experience the circle of life, in that plants need our care and we need plants for food. Creepy crawlies like worms are part of the connection too. When we care for a garden, we also care for ourselves and others.

Raising food from planting to harvesting, not only gives kids knowledge of how food grows, but appreciation for it too. In the words of the Guerilla Gardner, Ron Finley, “Kids who grow kale will eat kale. Kids who grow tomatoes, will eat tomatoes.” That’s one way of getting kids to eat veggies. Having kids’ gardening fun and learning as part of early childhood is so worthwhile. Do you wish there was more of it too?


Spring Fun: Kids Can Help with Yard Work

The weather may not be warm enough in your area for yard work, but it soon will be. Did you know kids can help with yard work? They usually love dirt.

kids can help with yard workLeaves and trash may have accumulated in the yard over the winter. Kids can help pick these up and put them in a bucket or wheelbarrow. There are kid-sized wheelbarrows that are fun to use, or try a big dump truck. Being closer to the ground, kids often see bits of stuff that adults miss. Sometimes though, they mistake the trash for treasure. Bugs, worm, and slugs may be hiding in old vegetation and they are a treasure of the nature kind.

With a small spade or shovel, little hands should be able to dig in the dirt. Give kids a small pail to fill with dirt. This can be dumped back out and kids will dig and fill it up again. This works the soil for planting. If it’s not too early, your helper might like to plant some spring flowers.

spring yard work with kidsAs long as a patch is all weeds, kids can pull and tug. Even for some grownups, it’s difficult to tell what’s a weed and what’s a flower or other plant, so watch kids aren’t pulling up the ones you want.

Kids like to see how strong they are. Are there some rocks that need to be moved to another part of the yard? As long as the rocks aren’t too big, kids may be able to carry them a short distance without dropping them on any toes.

Patio and deck furniture may need to be washed before setting it up. Warm water and soap in a bucket is like a magic potion for kids. Spilling and splashing water won’t hurt the ground, deck, or patio. An old dish brush works great for scrubbing.

Kids can help with yard work at a level that is appropriate for them. Being part of family tasks gives kids a feeling of pride and accomplishment. They like to contribute and feel big, even tho they are still little. Yard work is another way to be outside and connect to nature. It’s a very natural stress-reliever too. If yard work is on your to-do list, is there a way to include your child?

Gardening with Kids for Fun and Learning #10

Gardens are fun places for learning such as math, language, science, art, interacting with others, connecting to nature and more, as well as for some kindergarten readiness. On the weekend, there is a wonderful farmer’s market in our area.  While picking up some fresh rhubarb, this little 3 year old boy was checking out the … Continue reading Gardening with Kids for Fun and Learning #10

Garden Magic with Stories and Art Activities

Gardens can grow much more learning, fun, and kindergarten readiness than science and connections to nature; they can also stimulate imaginations and art. Seeds get planted in gardens, but the magic seeds that Jack planted grew a beanstalk that reached to the sky. What might happen if other seeds were magic too? To stretch imaginations, … Continue reading Garden Magic with Stories and Art Activities

Gardening With Kids #7: Fun for the Senses

Sensory play, an important activity for children’s development, contributes to learning and kindergarten readiness, and time in the garden will stimulate all the senses. In a garden so many activities are touchy-feely. Hands get to dig in the soil, play with mud, find rocks, feel slippery earthworms and fuzzy caterpillars, and oh so gently touch … Continue reading Gardening With Kids #7: Fun for the Senses