If you’re a parent looking for fun ways to get your kids outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. At Blue Squirrel, we believe that outdoor play is an essential part of early childhood development; but even when your child isn’t playing in their Blue Squirrel Clubhouse, there is so much to explore outdoors. Gardening is a great way to instill a love of nature and a sense of responsibility in children that will stick with them as they grow. They’ll learn to care for the world around them, while having fun at the same time! This summer, give your child the gift of a green thumb with these 5 tips:
Let Them Get Dirty
As parents, we love gardening because it’s an inexpensive and convenient way to keep the kids entertained and away from screens. Kids love gardening because it’s one of the only places where getting your hands dirty is actually encouraged! Did you know that gardening is one of the best ways to stimulate your child’s sensory exploration? They’ll have a blast sifting through the soil by hand, familiarizing themselves with all the different textures found in the garden. The best part is, you don’t need any fancy tools. Those first few times in the garden offer an excellent opportunity to engage in child-led play. Let your child roll up their sleeves and get to exploring!
There are so many fun ways to incorporate the garden into your child’s play, even if they’re not quite ready to care for their own plant yet. Games and crafts centered around nature are a great way to foster your child’s green thumb and get them excited to get out in nature. This can be as simple as bringing some of your child’s favorite washable toys out into the garden to switch up their playtime routine. It could be a more structured activity, like a scavenger hunt, or craft that involves picking some leaves or flower petals for your child to trace.
Have Them Lend a Helping Hand
Spark your child’s curiosity by having them watch you tend to the garden. When they’re ready, they can start helping out with certain tasks, whether it be digging holes for seeds or watering plants. The garden is the perfect place to start introducing tools to your child since it’s a low-risk environment, where you don’t need to worry too much about injuries or messes. Not only will your child love getting to be a part of the exciting process, but you’ll love seeing their fine motor skills develop right before your eyes. Caring for the garden can become a fun daily tradition for your kids to look forward to!
Have a Farm-to-Table Experience
Getting your children to eat healthy isn’t always an easy task, but studies show that children are more likely to reach for fruits and vegetables when they’re from the garden that they helped grow! Show your kids just how tasty gardening can be by planting some of their favorite fruits and veggies (and of course some new ones to try out). They’ll love picking out yummy recipes to make with their crops, and will probably even want to lend a hand in the kitchen!
Give Them a Sense of Responsibility
So, you’ve fostered your child's interest in gardening. . . now what? It’s never too soon to start teaching your kids about responsibility, and the garden is the perfect place to do so! Allowing them to care for their very own plant will teach them so many great lessons that they’ll be able to carry into their future. Start with a small pot and some seeds of their choosing. For beginners, we recommend quick-growing crops that require minimal care. Some of our favorites include carrots, cherry tomatoes, and snow peas. Once the seeds are planted, have your child decorate their very own watering can to further excite them about the process. Be sure to set a time to water the plant, and remind your child each day to help get them in the groove of their newfound responsibility!
Subscribe to our mailing list for the latest news from Blue Squirrel and a sneak peek at our upcoming clubhouse!