5 Learning Activities in the Garden for Young Children

Children of all ages love exploring and going adventures and there is not better place to kick start their imagination than in your own garden.

As a nursery that takes a Forest School approach to outdoor learning, garden activities some of our favourites. Kids love to get a bit mucky and there’s no substitute for doing things outside in the fresh air.

We’ve compiled our top five activities to do in the garden with your children. We’ve chosen these because they are suitable for all ages, they are educational as well as fun to do and because these are ones we do here are the nurseries, so we know from experience that they keep the little ones occupied for hours.

  1. Plant Flowers
  2. Create Vegetable Garden
  3. Mud Kitchen
  4. Den Building
  5. Mini Beast Hunt

One of our favourite activities. Not only is the act of planting flowers a lot of fun for children, the end result is incredibly satisfying. Choosing the right flowers is the first step – we like to go for sunflowers because of the time it takes for them to grow. It is not instant gratification, but they grow quickly enough to keep children interested - visibly days at a time - and their height can be marked off against a wall or a cane so you can measure how fast they grow. They also grow tall – taller than most children – and that can also be a source of wonder. And when they open, there are few flowers more impressive.

Growing vegetables is both fun and educational for children and something we do all year round at the nurseries. Not only does is teach children about how things grow, but also about how healthy, natural food is made and the importance of what we put in our bodies.

From digging holes and furrows in the earth, to finally pulling up the fruits (or should that be vegetables? 😉) of your labour the entire process is great fun.

Depending on what you are planting you will need to dedicate some space in the garden or the greenhouse, but tucking into organic vegetables you have grown together is a wonderful experience.

Mud pies, mud stews, mud soups, mud pudding; creating a mud kitchen – as the name suggests –is a messy job, so be prepared. This is another activity we do a all year round at the nurseries to create a natural playground for the children. Gathering old pots and pans of all shapes and sizes, we encourage the children to create whatever delightful dishes their imaginations wish using sticks and leaves bound together with mud and water.

It’s great messy fun, and it is only mud – it will wash out!

Den building is great fun for all ages. Our nurseries’ outdoor areas are full of dens, from hollow tree logs, to willow dens to classic stick dens. Making dens can be as simple or as complicated as you and your child like. First assess what resources you have available to you and where you would like to do it. Don’t fall into the trap – as we have many times at home! - of getting too wrapped up in the den building process, when all the kids want to do is get on with using the den for an adventure! The simplest dens can be as easy as finding something suitable for a base structure or walls – sticks or even carefully placed outdoor furniture – and then throwing a big sheet over it. The kids will fill it full of toys and furnishing and make it a base for their next adventure.

Hunting for mini beasts is a great way to keep children entertained in the garden. Plan a route around your garden – you can even draw a fun map – and then create a tick list of the mini beats you want to find. A good way to do this is to draw pictures on a paper so children get used to the names of the bugs and what they look like. Ladybirds, worms, woodlice, spiders, beetles, bees, ants, butterflies and caterpillars, there is a whole host of mini beats living in your garden just waiting to be found. Sometimes we go around with a small wooden box filled with soil that we put our beasts on so the children can observe them more closely. It’s great fun and helps them understand more about the wonders of the world around them.

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