Growing plants and gardening offer loads of learning activities which can be incorporated into school curriculums or home education. Maths, biology, and science generally can all be taught with hands-on experiments and educational coloring pages and worksheets used to help cement the information into young minds.
Education is so much more than sitting in a class room and studying text books. Including educational snippets while gardening or just sitting outside and enjoying watching the birds and the butterflies, can teach children not only the theory, but more importantly, how they fit into the natural world, the importance of looking after our environment and recycling.
From encouraging a youngster to read by working out the instructions on a seed packet to bringing up adults determined to save the rainforest and live in tune with nature, incorporating experiments and activities into our gardening and gardens will encourage our child's natural curiosity, help them develop their observational skills and learn about life, nature and the planet while having fun.
Maths Learning Activities
When planting lettuce or other vegetables, measure out the distance between rows or plants.
Measure the amount of rainfall during the different seasons.
Work out how many plants you will be able to fit into your raised bed (eg the raised bed is 1 m square, and the plants need 20 cms between them).
Have a bean growing competition! Whose bean is tallest in three weeks?
Build a sundial and use that for working out the time on a sunny day!
Science and Biology Learning Activities
Dig up a plant and have a good look at the root structure. What does it look like, what is it for?
What do plants need to live? Try growing a plant in the dark or without adding water and observe what happens.
Try growing plants in different mediums, eg garden soil, clay, sand, potting compost, cotton wool or paper mash, and observe and chart their progress.
Do seeds germinate better in the cold or in the warm? Try germinating one seed on a light windowsill and another in the fridge - which one germinates quicker?
Which parts of a plant are edible? Compare different vegetables, such as potatoes, spinach, and beans, draw pictures of them and mark the bits we actually eat.
On a rainy day, watch the raindrops on the windowpane. Which ones run down the glass faster and what happens when they pump into another drop?
Nature Learning Activities
What changes take place in the garden during the different seasons?
Make a log of all the animals and insects you find in the garden. Look in the earth for worms and larvae, on plants leaves for caterpillars and insects, and sit quietly and watch which birds or butterflies visit which plants.
Create a little wildlife reserve and encourage hedgehogs, toads and frogs into your garden, or build a nesting box, bird bath or bird feeder to encourage birds to make your garden their home.
Is there a sheltered spot in the garden where plants pop up or flower earlier than more exposes places? Use that example as a starting point for exploring the climate and microclimates.
Environmental Learning Activities
See how many of the products you would usually throw away can be re-used in the garden or for growing plants. What about old margarine tubs and yogurt pots? Can you think of uses for tin cans or foil?
Learn about recycling garden and kitchen waste to make compost. Make your own composter or buy a wormery.
Work out ways of conserving water in the garden, catching as much of the rainwater as possible.
See how the whole of nature is in balance and works together perfectly in a garden and in nature. Map out the food chains, and learn about the valuable contribution plants make to the ecosystem.
For more ideas and resources, check out the following sites:
Gardening: Activities for 3-5 Year Olds (Activities for 3-5 year olds series) - A good book for introducing really little ones to a life of gardening wonder :)
Nature Learning Books:
Other Learning & Activity Packs:
Easter Activities - Printable Easter Activities And Games
Activities - Printable Craft & Activity Templates.
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