gardening an imagination

 

Gardening is one of the greatest ways to stimulate a child's imagination.  The best part is that kids will be learning all about nature and the environment, as well as many other educational subjects without even realizing it.  They'll be having so much fun that the learning just comes naturally.  From the use of sensory gardens and the incorporation of whimsical elements to specific garden themes and wildlife habitats, imagination is sure to blossom.

Sensory Gardens

1.  By using a variety of sensory plants and activities, you can create the perfect place to spark kid's imagination.  Sensory gardens stimulate all the senses, making the gardening experience that much greater.  Create fun play areas and add plants that provide interesting textures, colors, and forms.  Include textures such as soft, fuzzy lamb's ear, or papery feeling strawflowers.  There are plants that are feathery, velvety, and sticky.  You may even want to include spiky plants, like holly, but do so with caution so kids won't get hurt.  Bright colors stimulate excitement while diverse plantings allow kids to experience the wonders of wildlife visitors in their garden.

2.  Don't forget plants that have unique fragrances, sounds, and tastes.  Fragrant plants stimulate children's sense of smell.  There are plants that smell spicy, sweet, and downright stinky. Nonetheless, kids will love them all!  As the kids smell a variety of flowers, ask them to draw a picture of what the aromas remind them of.  You'll be amazed at the imagination stimulation that takes place.

3.  Sounds in the garden can take kids to far away places.  There are plants that make loud, rattling noises or soft, rustling sounds.  Fun water features, like gurgling fountains, can also add to this experience.  Have the kids close their eyes and ask them to visualize places or things that make similar sounds.

4.  Edible plantings appeal to kid's taste buds.  Be sure to include a variety of vegetables in the sensory garden.  Allow kids to explore different tastes by adding plants that are sweet, salty, bitter, and tangy.

Gardening Themes

1.  Nothing triggers the imagination quite like a theme garden.  Not only does this allow them to create their own make-believe environment, but will also give you a chance to see through their eyes.  Let kids choose what they want in their them garden.  Themes can be based on a variety of things such as book characters, games, hobbies and more!  The ideas are endless.  Include plants and accessories that fit the chosen theme.  For example, an "animal theme garden" could include plants with animal names, such as:  lamb's ear, catmint, toad lily, and rabbit grass.  Them gardens are a perfect way to stimulate creativity.

Add some Accessories!

1.  Another great way to stimulate kid's imaginations is by adding whimsical elements and accessories to the garden.  These can take the form of anything from interesting play areas, seating, and creative stepping stones.  Other examples include wind chimes and water fountains.  Kid's across the globe have fun watering their gardens with a grow with me Sunny, the Watering Can!

2.  Stepping-stones are easy to make yourself and the kids will love helping out.  Allow them to add their own artifacts like pebbles, shells, marbles and more.  They can even add their handprints.  Place them in the garden and the kids will take great pride in their "handy" work.

3.  Wind chimes make great garden accessories!  These can be constructed quite easily from things you may already have lying around the yard.  Anything a child can make and use will stimulate the imagination.  Water features are another good way to spark imagination.  Remember to keep it simple, especially when working with younger children.

4.  Help the kids attract wildlife to the garden.  Let them make their own birdfeeders for example.  When the birds come to visit, arm the kids with binoculars for a closer view.  Allow them to draw the different types birds and research them for easier identification.

Download the grow with me Garden Journal - a great resource for keeping track of all your garden creations