With a sea of persuasive advertising for fast foods and unhealthy snacks being focused on children, it is rather difficult to steer them in the healthy direction. Gardening however, is one effective way of teaching children to grow their own produce and then consume it.
Not only that, but gardening is quite plentiful in benefits pertaining to not only physical health, but it also develops emotional and cognitive abilities. Not to mention it can be quite fun, refreshing, educational and full of sensory benefits. Whether your child is a little slow with sensory processing or not, they can still gain greatly from sensory play in the form of gardening. From birth, children continuously go through the process of learning about their surroundings using their senses and as they develop; their sensory experiences assist them in making connections with the environment. Let’s go in a little detail to find out how exactly gardening can help spark your child’s sensory connections: Lifting, Carrying and Pushing Enhance Proprioceptive Sensory Input: Gardening is activities are commonly a bit weighty and laborious, but did you know that when your child carries a bag of dirt, he is getting a sensory benefit? You can further stimulate the proprioceptive input in your child by helping him to push the wheelbarrow, carry around large sticks, bags of dirt and pots from one garden bed to another, pulling a trash can and shoveling and gigging deep holes. Of course, close monitoring and assigning children tasks they can handle is very important, nevertheless the possibilities are unlimited. Dirt, Plant Textures and Sand Boosts Tactile Sensory Input: The garden offers countless options for hands-on experiences to cultivate learning and motivate kids to process their world through feeling, observing and comparing. You can encourage Tactile Input in your children through rubbing and feeling various parts of the plants being sown, pouring and scooping dirt, seed sorting, seed planting for improved fine motor development, sifting, squeezing and rubbing dirt, writing in dirt with fingers, picking flowers, harvesting fruits and vegetables and creating mud with dirt water. Gardening, with its ability to stimulate one’s senses, sense of smell, touch, sight, sound and taste, is especially beneficial for all children as well as adults, especially those with sensory processing issues. Sensory gardens are particularly designed for people with autism, dementia and other sensory disabilities to help them feel safe and comfortable in exploring their senses without getting overwhelmed. Be sure to check out : Princes of Pilbarra: Guarding the Gardens (www.pilbarra.com) for more outdoor fun and adventure!