Getting Kids Interested In The Garden Through Engaging Thier Sense Of Sight Smell Taste Hearing And Touch. Lots Of Ideas On Getting Them Outside

Garden Play: Using the Senses to Engage Kids in the Garden

Regardless of the differences in background, attitude, or experience, garden play is great for child development & health. I have worked with kids in the garden for quite a while now and if there is one thing that is universally appealing to all children outdoors, it is the desire to play. I don’t mean an organized game of tag, but instead a lighthearted, playful approach to the garden.

Getting kids interested in the garden through engaging their sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Lots of ideas for getting them outside!

Some children are at home up to their elbows in the soil, while others may be a bit leery of getting dirty. Some have a curiosity for the creatures that inhabit the space and others may get the willies from all the creepy crawlies. Regardless of the differences in background, attitude, or experience, the garden can be a fun place to play. Some kids just need a little help getting interested.

Break down barriers to experiencing the garden at a young age by engaging the senses.

SIGHT: Kids can see all that grows in the garden, but they can also use their eyes to inspect it. Have them pick flowers and pull them apart to get a closer look. Collect bugs in a mason jar and feed them some leaves. Play “I Spy” and see how many new things they can observe in the outdoor space.

Tips on activities and games to get kids interested in the garden using the senses.

SMELL: The aroma of the garden in intoxicating! Try smelling different flowers to see how they differ from each other, or even try smelling different colors of flowers of the same kind and talk about what you learn.

TASTE: Picking berries fresh from the garden to eat must be the single most powerful way to get kids interested in the garden. I plant blueberries, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and ground cherries all for the simple pleasure of snacking out in the garden. I never grow enough to bring indoors and all the kids who visit my house know how to pick a bush clean in no time flat! Herb leaves offer a fun tasting project as well. Pick a few different kinds of herbs and let kids try to identify them just from taste. Get ready for some funny faces when chives or rosemary get chomped. Their palettes will grow the more they snack. You may even get them to fall in love with kale!

Getting kids to harvest berries instills a love for the garden at an early age - plus many more ideas on engaging the senses to make the garden a playful space.

TOUCH: Feel the soft leaves of lamb’s ear, the spiky casing of a chestnut, the warmth of river stones set in the sun, or the squishy guts of a freshly-harvested tomato. There is no end to what little hands can get into in the garden.

SOUND: Ask kids to identify the sounds they hear in the garden. Is there running water, buzzing bees, or chirping birds? How many different things make up the musical score which plays in the background? Ask kids to imitate the sounds and find the source.

Creative expression, learning, and confidence will all develop naturally from a comfortable place to play.

Here are a few more projects that may help to engage kids and warm them up to getting a little dirt under their fingernails!

Crafty Garden Projects to do with Kids: tons of ideas here for all ages

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Kim
    KimSeptember 26,14

    A really good idea list of how to get kids interested in gardening. I know my grandson loves to dig. Getting him to dig where I want is another story. But he likes the bugs. Don’t all boys!

  2. Lavende & Lemonade
    Lavende & LemonadeSeptember 26,14

    I love this! Its so important for the little ones to get out and learn with nature. Pinned!

  3. Tricia Bailey
    Tricia BaileyApril 9,15

    You are so spot on. Gardening is a hands on affair with the elements of this earth. All the senses are fully involved and sensitized.

    The stimulation of all five senses seems to enhance our memory and mood. A familiar sound or taste can spark memories of good times. The stress free environment found in a natural environment provides a safe and secure feeling. Landscapes celebrate the wonderful world of plants — their fragrances, sounds, colors, textures, and movement. Getting our children out in our natural world is a pure gift and full of wonder.

  4. Stephanie
    StephanieApril 10,15

    Thanks everyone!

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