It is National Children’s Gardening Week, an opportunity to celebrate the fun of gardening for children. It is a great activity for children to enjoy outside in the fresh air that provides a range of additional health benefits.
National Children’s Gardening Week was started by Neil Grant, Managing Director of Ferndale Garden Centre, and one of BBC Radio Sheffield’s garden experts. The awareness week has become an annual festival and it is widely supported by the whole of the UK garden industry.
Gardening is a fun, educational activity where children can learn about the different species of plants and how together we can help them to grow. Children get to learn about the different seasons and weather conditions that may affect plants. It also gives children the chance to find out more about the wide array of animals and insects that live in gardens, and is an excellent activity for children to take part in either at home or at school.
There are many benefits associated with gardening. It can be a very sociable activity, especially in schools. Children can work as a team and it gives them the opportunity to bond with their peers and teachers, as they help to nurture each other as well as nurturing their own flowers. Gardening is a recommended activity in nurture groups because of the positive impact it has on developing children’s social skills. This is especially important for pupils who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties that make it harder for them to learn in a mainstream classroom.
“Nothing comes close to making me as proud as I was watching my nurture group gardening. Each and every one flung themselves into it, they worked together as a team, turn taking and supporting each other. I didn’t see a single phone or headphone all day – which with our lot is a genuine measure of success – until the end when they took pictures to show their mums!” – KS4 Nurture Group Teacher
Gardening also helps children with their sensory development. It can engage a variety of different senses which helps children to recognise and develop them. For example, they can feel the texture of the soil and petals, along with smelling the wonderful scents from all of the flowers. In addition, gardening builds up children’s physical strength as well as developing their hand-eye coordination.
With less children heading outside these days due to TV and other technology, it is vital that we do all we can to reconnect them with the beauty of nature. The lessons that children learn from gardening reap fantastic rewards. By encouraging children to start gardening early, it’s more likely that it will continue to be a hobby for them for life.