The one thing that the Granny Mouse Country House & Spa are known for is their all round hospitality service, outstanding food, but also for their gardens!
The one thing that Sean Granger, the “Mouse House” General Manager has noticed for some time is that when families have popped in for a spot of the best “lunch time nibbles” that the Midlands has to offer – once the kids have eaten they head outside and has noticed how “the young ones” have been fascinated by their 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), from spending time in nature, a huge stress reliever, to controlling & calming their emotions, it is educational and teaches them skills from responsibility to understanding and to develop some self-confidence.
More importantly, it is the knowing how to produce our own food source and especially if systems break down is imperative.
Teaching kids gardening is a great way to get them interested in learning more about their environment outside and learning to take care of the environment by planting (keep their little hands busy with tools and off the gadgets). Children can then learn firsthand where their food comes from – not the grocery store.
In this world of tech, gets the kids out of the house to enjoy fresh air and exercise as well as developing healthy eating habits.
It also supports holistic learning, where they learn about maths, science, motor skills and enjoy loads of positive sensory stimulus and all the while having fun.
Gardening can start with toddlers, but be prepared – know exactly where you are going to plant, making sure that the soil is right there as well as water and sunshine.
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. It’s going to get messy and the rows may be a tad crooked but it’s fun chaos. Have an area mapped out for further digging as you know they will want to.
When planting foods, make sure that you eat what you are growing, the little ones will be more inclined to give the harvest they have helped grow a try. Begin planting anything easy to grow or that grows quickly like sunflowers, pumpkins, or watermelons. These are all fun and easy things to grow. You can try planting more difficult things to grow like tomatoes, peppers, or carrots for 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 nature benefits are endless, as it gives the kids a firsthand look at life cycles and wildlife, just another benefit of gardening for children. 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.
They don’t just get to study plants but also bugs and animals as well and identifying plants, leaves and growing habits. Keeping it simple, talk about the worms, and the creatures and the work that they do to make the garden a living happy place. Children learn responsibility, the love of nature and discovery and can even spike the imagination.
Its not child labour in anyway with the physical activity, getting the kids into turning compost, digging, raking and helps strengthen the muscles and grow ultimately growing healthy bodies. Working in the garden helps improve focus and memory, and can help with speech and language problems. It’s also great for building social skills.
The ultimate objective is to have fun, and you know not everything will grow but some of the plants will and it’s a great way to spend quality time with the kids and learning at the same time.