Learning by growing

Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is known for is their all-round hospitality service, outstanding food, and their exquisite gardens!

The one thing that Sean Granger, “Mouse House” General Manager, has noticed is that when families have popped in for a taste of the best “lunch time nibbles”, once the kids have eaten they head outside and are fascinated by the gardens. And this has inspired him to share his observations and give some pointers below.

There are so many reasons why gardening is important for our “little ones” (and for adults too) – spending time in nature, huge stress reliever, controls & calms emotions, and it is educational in that it teaches them skills from responsibility to understanding and respect of their environment.

More importantly and imperative, it is knowing how to produce your own food source.

Teaching the kids to garden is a great way to get them interested in learning more about their outside environment and learning how to take care of it. By getting their little hands dirty, children can then learn firsthand where their food comes from – not just the grocery store.

In this world of technology, it not only gets the kids out of the house to enjoy fresh air and exercise, but also helps them to develop healthy eating habits, especially if they are eating the rewards of their labour.

Gardening can start from any age, and learning the key fundamentals from young is key, such as where and what you are going to plant, checking the soil is right and ensuring there is plenty of sunshine and water drainage.

To start, do the necessary prep and make sure the soil is just right for the toddler to dig. Don’t make the time competitive, just be relaxed and enjoy the time spent together. It’s going to get messy, and it may not be done right, but it is fun chaos. Have an area mapped out for further digging as you know they will want to continue the chaos.

When planting foods, make sure that you eat what you are growing, as the little ones will be more inclined to give the harvest they have helped grow a try. Begin planting anything easy or that grows quickly, like sunflowers, pumpkins, or watermelons. Keep the higher grade planting of tomatoes, peppers, or carrots for the older kids.

Let the kids take over their project by making sure they water their plants or flowers as needed and then watch the plants or flowers grow! The benefits are endless, and it gives the kids a firsthand look at life cycles and wildlife. They observe textures, smells, tastes, sounds, and so many colours as well. The garden stimulates all of their senses more than most anything else imaginable.

With any planting or gardening experience, there is bound to be the curiosity from the little bugs and insects. This, along with the various plants and leaves, encourages the study of creatures too, their habitats, and what they enjoy and don’t enjoy. Keep it simple, and talk about the worms and other creatures and the work that they do to make the garden a living happy place. This can even spike the imagination, and once again have a new found respect for their environment and the animals that live in it.

Turn a chore into an educational hobby and get them involved in the physical activity of gardening, such as turning compost, digging and raking. This strengthens the muscles and ultimately helps grow healthy bodies. Working in the garden helps improve focus and memory, and can assist with speech and language problems. It’s also great for building social skills.

The ultimate objective is to have fun, and learn about the environment around them…one messy, chaotic shovel at a time.

Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen and Happy Growing!!!

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