Gardening engages all of the senses. Squish your hands in the dirt. How does it feel? Let’s add some water. What does it look like now? How does that flower smell? We grew a vegetable… let’s eat it and see how it tastes! Hear that crunch when we bite into it? As you can see, it’s easy to incorporate sensory play into a gardening activity!
Gardening encourages healthy eating. Have a picky eater who turns their nose up at the sight of a vegetable? Try growing one from a seed. Your child will be so proud to have grown a food, they might become curious enough to taste-test the fruits of their labour. Encourage them to sample the vegetable straight off the vine or ask them to help you prepare it in the kitchen. It may become their new favourite!
Gardening enhances fine motor development. From picking up tiny seeds to pulling weeds, and gently caring for your seedlings and plants, gardening encourages the development of fine motor skills every step of the way.
Gardening introduces kids to scientific concepts. What makes the leaves green? What do plants need to thrive? How much water does the plant need? Explore science together while gardening — once again proving that learning can be fun.
Gardening fosters family bonding. Looking for a great family activity? Gardening is your answer! More hands make lighter work and although gardening can definitely be a lot of work, doing it together as a family makes it fun.
Gardening teaches responsibility. Plants require a lot of care. Forgetting to water them could lead to the sad death of your plants. Not paying attention to whether your plant thrives in direct light or indirect light can also affect the health of your plant. Learning how to care for the plants properly is a great lesson in responsibility for kids.
Gardening develops math skills. How many seeds can you plant in each row? How many seedlings can fit in each garden box? How much water does each potted planter need? Math is a big part of gardening!
Gardening teaching patience. Growing from seed to producing plant can take weeks! There’s no better teacher of patience than gardening. But we promise, it’s always worth the wait!
Water Play provides hours of rich and valuable early childhood experiences to develop children’s creativity and imagination. Water play is both enjoyable and educational. It helps children develop eye-hand coordination and math and science concepts. It also enhances social skills and encourages cooperation.
We were lucky enough to have two types of water play activity sessions within a few days of each other. Firstly, the natural wet play, when the rain came down so heavily that it created large puddles for the children to play in and the students were able to make home-made boats using recycled materials and of course splashing each other. Then we have the man made water play with tubs of water, ice cubes, sprinklers, bubbles and plenty of ways to get really wet.
It is always a fantastic opportunity for our Kindergarten students to get fully immersed in water play. All the students and even some teachers had a wonderful time.
We regularly have yoga sessions following the expertise of Jaime from Cosmic Yoga (Youtube). These are some of the reasons why yoga is great for children.
1. Kids’ Yoga Grows Confidence
As children regularly practice yoga, mastering new poses and creating a flow between their body and mind helps builds confidence. Even a simple step like a child being able to touch their toes after practising each week, creates the feeling of achievement. Yoga allows every child to move at their own pace which helps to master a pose to feel important and special. Thanks to the fact that each child can achieve at their own pace, the comparison of others that they may experience elsewhere is completely removed.
2. Kids’ Yoga Promotes a Healthy Body
Regular yoga practice helps promote a healthier body through poses that stretch, strengthen and build coordination too. Kids’ yoga improves flexibility and increases blood flow, which in turn can help reduce the risk of injury during other physical activity.
3. Kids’ Yoga Improves Concentration
After a kids’ yoga session there is evidence of improved attention and even behaviour too. Using yoga as a short brain break between classes or subjects can help allow kids to better focus, which in turn means more learning!
4. Kids’ Yoga Helps Kids Manage Stress Through Breathing
Controlled breathing can work wonders for stress and anxiety, helping to give us a sense of calm and reassurance. Yoga helps kids understand how to use their breathing to reduce stress and feel in control when they feel anxious. Once they master this whilst practising yoga they can take this technique away with them to use whenever they need reassurance.
5. Kids’ Yoga Promotes Inclusivity
We all want our children to be healthy and activities like football, athletics or gymnastics are very popular for school age children to keep active. Not all children enjoy the competitive nature of sports though, and performing to win just doesn’t suit all characters. Part of the reason yoga is so successful in schools is its inclusive nature. Yoga practice does not focus on levels of ability, winning or even being better than the person next to you. It instead encourages you to be the best you can be, putting the focus on the self. By promoting the inclusive practice as a group, no matter what your level, kids’ yoga is great for children who don’t flourish in competitive environments.
6. Kids’ Yoga Introduces Kids to Mindfulness
Yoga helps to align the body and mind, meaning it can be a great introduction to mindfulness too. Children’s yoga often uses stories to engage kids, usually with a mindful message to take away; whether it’s about building confidence, finding inspiration or simply following your dreams! By using the whole body and thinking about our breath in each pose, children finish yoga feeling aligned, calm and happy.
7. Kids’ Yoga Teaches Through Stories and Song
Yoga for kids usually includes songs, story-telling and wordplay for fun. This gives the opportunity for younger children to learn new words and help develop language alongside their Pre-school learning. The benefit of adding songs means that the physical movements can combine with the cognitive process of discovering new words – a kinaesthetic process, which aids learning.
8. Kids’ Yoga Improves Coordination & Balance
For grown-ups and children alike, yoga is a brilliant way to develop coordination. As yoga poses work to use a range of muscles, kids find their body working in symmetry, improving body coordination and encouraging motor development.