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Blog #8 A Children's Secret Garden

Children love playing in the dirt. They gain higher levels of confidence and positive attitudes towards healthy living when they play outdoors and connect with nature. And they have an innate curiosity about wildlife.

So, including your children in your family’s secret garden project should stir their imaginations especially if they can input in the design of their own room. You can teach them to help manage it and respect the environment as you develop your project. Getting your children involved is the important thing.

Thinking creatively with them, you may include areas and activities such as:

  • Rope climbing, sliding and swinging

  • An area for writing, reading and coloring

  • Natural materials for furniture like cut logs and flat top rocks

  • A wall to hang artwork with a rewritable surface section where they can draw with erasable markers

Planting native species will teach children about plant diversity and the symbiotic relationship plants share with insects, birds and other living creatures. Annuals like sunflowers and pole beans planted from seed are easy to grow and fun to watch. Colorful plant markers with corresponding pictures in a vegetable garden remind children of what they are growing and why they need to water consistently to have a good harvest.

Make sure you research toxic plants or those that contain skin irritants and avoid using them in your design.

A sensory garden is a great fit with children and will positively influence their cognitive, emotional, physical and creative development. Water fountains, wind chimes and rustling grasses add natural sounds; fragrant herb plantings and mini piles of soil, mulch and compost add scent; brightly colored flowers, whirligigs and garden art add visual stimulation; and buckets to bake squishy mud pies plus a little dining table to serve guests can make it easier to encourage a happy child gardener. And don’t forget to add a bird house and water dish to attract local varieties.

Secret gardens can be a very happy, safe place for children. Engage with your child in their garden and learn the lesson of "playtime" from them!

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