Exploring the five senses in the garden with children
Smell, sight, tough, taste and sound, gardening is a great sensory experience.
By Livia Gamble
March 28 2017
Autumn is a wonderful time to get your family out into the backyard and start a garden - the weather is cooler but the soil is still warm enough to give plants a great start.
Let’s not forget the benefits of gardening. Getting children outside, playing in the dirt and developing their green thumb is not only a great physical activity but it also teaches them responsibility and helps build self-confidence. The activity can also be used as a tool to teach kids about nutrition.
Later in life, it has been reported having a garden improves mental health and lowers levels of depression.
What plants should we grow?
The brilliant thing about plants is there's something for all the senses. Better Health Victoria suggests the following sensory plants for kids:
- Touch – woolly lamb’s ear, succulents (such as aloe vera), bottlebrush species, snapdragons
- Taste – basil, strawberries, peas, rosemary, carrots, cherry tomatoes
- Smell – jasmine, sweet peas, lavender, pelargoniums, native mint bush, lemon balm
- Bright colour – daffodils, rainbow chard, marigolds, pansies, sunflowers
- Sound – corn, bamboo and grasses rustle against each other when the wind blows.
April marks Planting month. During this time, Yates is encouraging people all over Australia to prepare their soil and start growing! The initiative is a great motivator for families to get out in the garden together and get growing.
Yates gardening expert Angie Thomas says kids love the responsibility of looking after their own plot.
“It’s a great idea to designate a section of your garden for your kids to have as their own. Giving them some extra responsibility and ownership over the gardening process will help keep them interested.”
To get the most out of the experience, Thomas suggests starting with plants children can eat.
“Many children have little idea that peas grow in pods on a plant or that the beetroot on the hamburger bun didn’t start its life in a tin,” she said. “Imagine their excitement when they can sow seeds into the soil and follow the plant right through until it’s ready for picking.
“Vegies like baby beetroot and lettuce are quick to grow and sugar snap and snow peas can be eaten straight out of the veggie patch. And don’t forget baby carrots, which can be harvested in as little as 10 weeks.”