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Vitamin N - Benefits of gardening activities for children

Vitamin N - Benefits of gardening activities for children

Whether we have a garden or arrange in the balcony a space with pots in which we can garden with the children, we will give to the little experiences full of joy and interesting activities. The concept "Vitamin N" is promoted by specialists in child psychology and pediatrics, to underline the importance of play in nature and with nature for the healthy development of children. More and more studies show how important it is to return to nature and to simple activities in nature for children's emotional health, stress reduction and cognitive and relational development.

One of the activities that many families, but also schools or kindergartens re-introduce into their daily lives, awareness of the benefits for children, is gardening. The recommendation of the specialists is to offer the children their own gardening space that they can manage as independently as possible, in order to benefit from the benefits of this activity.

When participating in gardening activities, children benefit from many acquisitions in terms of skills, values ​​and knowledge:

• The gardener offers sensory play opportunities, involving more senses (tactile, olfactory, visual, gustatory). Sensory play organizes the activity of the nervous system, brings balance and well-being, reduces stress, increases focus and self-regulation.

• Working with the soil, plants and gardening tools, the child develops fine motor skills and movement planning.

• We can introduce various knowledge and information appropriate to the age of the child (from biology, chemistry, mathematics), which he can assimilate and use in a relevant and motivating way.

• The child learns respect for nature and the civilized way of interacting with nature.

• The child exercises patience, planning and organization, perseverance in the activity - necessary to obtain a result.

• The child learns responsibility towards a being in the care and need of it and is encouraged to assume this role.

• When dealing with growing vegetables, children feel more motivated to taste them.

• Increases curiosity about the evolution of those around us, but also the ability to observe, raise awareness and understand phenomena external to one's own person. Present them the different stages of plant growth, make comparisons between the starting point (seed, seedling) and the current stage of the plant, encouraging the child to observe the changes and analyze them.

• Gardening can be a child-led experience (he can choose which plants to grow, what colors to have, where to place them, what order to have the activities, how to arrange and organize the space, etc.), but also a opportunity to connect the parent with the little one. It is important the result obtained, but also the experience itself, which children and parents can enjoy together.

The colorful garden can become a magical playground for children. It can be the space where stories, adventures, projects are born, and the imagination of children can catch wings:

• The garden can be the land of dwarves, spirits or other small creatures invented by the child, who live, have fun, work among plants, through the earth, under stones, etc. and who, every day, go through other adventures.

• Plants, stones or gardening tools can become fairy tales - dinosaurs, fairies, witches, princesses and princes.

• Children can set up a market where they can "sell" the garden products and they can learn to organize such an activity.

• Children can invent recipes or prepare simple recipes, known, alone or together with parents, to be enjoyed by all family or friends.

• Picnic, conversation or reading in the garden - you can turn the garden into a creative space for everyday activities, where you spend quality time with your family.

Playing in nature and together with nature brings an infusion of vitality to children and parents. Returning to simple joys, connecting with nature and with loved ones should not be overshadowed by the care of the spots on clothes. OMO deals with this. With the confidence that stains are not an obstacle, we, the parents, must give children the opportunity to live simple experiences in nature, just as we have lived in childhood.

Alina Ciocodan
Psychologist