Nowadays, children seem to be spending more and more time indoors in favour of pursuing more technology-oriented pastimes. However, they need to be aware that there is plenty of fun to be found outdoors, too – and you don’t need to venture far to find it!
As the days get longer, there is now more time that you can spend as a family in the back garden or down at a local allotment and have fun whilst educating your children. Compost Direct, retailers of top soil, tells us more:
Playing in the garden is a great way for younger children to develop their early-years skills.
Messy play is a wonderful way of developing sensory and cognitive development whilst having fun. The vast research behind the advantages of messy play, and how its unstructured form of activity can really help your child develop, has been extensively proven.
Activities that your child can enjoy can be done in the garden with sand, water or even mud! It’s all about breaking down the usual rules that your child might face, such as being restricted to a play mat or not being too disruptive with toys.
Provide child-friendly tools that your child can practice drawing with, and encourage them to use their fingers in various materials. This helps children to build up their finger and arm muscles which is useful for when they come to holding pens.
Spending time in the garden can help to expose your child to many new textures that they might not otherwise come across. Solid objects such as toys, are easy for children to learn to play with because they don’t change shape. Letting your child come into contact with mud, a softer material, lets children broaden their knowledge and allows them to compare and understand new textures.
If you help your child with their homework, why not do it outdoors on a fine evening? If your child has spent all day behind a desk at school doing their work, make the afternoons different by encouraging them to take their homework outdoors to do on a fine evening?
Make it easy for your child to work outdoors by purchasing a gazebo for comfortable shade, or by adding a table and chairs outdoors as a space where homework can be done. 85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were taught outside. In addition to this, 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons to be outdoors.
In addition, a study between pupils who learnt indoors and those who learnt outdoors discovered that those who learnt outside were found to have a better understanding of their responsibility to care for the environment.
About healthy eating
Encouraging children to grow their own food doesn’t require much space or time. Containers can be used to grow cut-and-come-again lettuce leaves, radishes and herbs, meaning that even those with the most limited of space available can get their greenfingers growing.
Research has also discovered that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables or express a preference for that food, making this a great way to improve their diet and get them outdoors.
Other easy fruit and vegetables to grow include: strawberries, cabbage, radishes and potatoes. You can decide on the size of your patch and watch as your child runs outside to see what has grown that week.
Jobs for little helpers
Children often love to have some responsibility and help out in the home or garden. Give them some tasks to do daily, or even weekly, and it’s likely that they’ll start to look forward to spending time in the garden.
One simple task to get children outdoors could be to grow a sunflower – make all the more fun if you grow several to ‘race’ against ach other! Each day your child can head outdoors to see how their plant is growing and practise some maths skills through measuring. This can be exciting for a child, as often the sunflower will grow taller than them!
If you are mowing the lawn or potting plants, why not get your child involved with keeping the garden tidy. Let them trim the edges of your garden, water the plants or do some de-weeding — it’s a nice way to spend time together, too.