I have to confess that this year’s budget has kind off sent me into a ‘paisa bachao’ frenzy. While the entire world seems to be engaging in fancy DIY activities and spamming my facebook wall with gorgeous squishy soap pics, I am a little in the “let my kids learn naturally” phase (Read wanting to save some money here!)
One of these which top my list of sensory exploratory options is ‘The Garden!’ It is nature’s own sensory bin and the upside: all naturally, easily available and absolutely free of cost!
Here’s how I use the garden as a sensory exploratory experience:
The stimulation occurs at every stage in a garden. There are varied textures available for your little ones to explore. Allow your baby to crawl on the grass, look around for varied textured flowers, fuzzy leaves, rough barks, prickly seed pods.
For the older children, find accessories such as garden structures, twigs and stones. Allow them to walk bare feet to experience the coolness of the freshly watered grass and the thorniness of the pokey ones.
From babies to toddler to kids, there are structures, sand, leaves, flowers, water bodies, twigs, stones and I could go on!
My toddler loves to smell flowers around. She always watches out for bees because she understands that the fragrances given off by flowers and leaves serve the purpose of attracting insects. This education couldn't have happened outside of a garden. She also refuses to go towards the far end of the garden because that’s where they collect the rubbish in a bin. She points out in that direction and merely says ‘Not nice.’ It’s a good vocabulary stimulus too, to distinguish between fragrance and smell.
Crushing and smelling petals works well for younger babies.
Over a period of a few visits, my daughter can now tell the difference between the tweeting of the birds and the cooing of the pigeons. She loves the dry leaves rustling beneath her bare feet and the water plops in the pond and she loves the helicopter. Sit in the garden and encourage your children to listen to all the sounds of nature around you…including the laughter and the chatter of people.
Summer is here with a vengeance! Our neighbourhood garden has plenty of mango trees. My kids love picking the raw mangoes strewn on the grass beneath the trees. Now that we are beyond the customary tasting of these, we carry them home and make a nice pickle! Little fruits like gooseberries and mulberries are the safer to try berries. Several herbs growing in the gardens like neem and tulsi are wonderful for scent and taste exploration.
The garden is a visual stimulus galore!! From birds to animals, to flowers to fruits, from people to more people, there is always a lot to see and observe.#toddlerlearning