Planting a tree with your children can mean so much more than just adding an attractive feature to your garden – it’s an opportunity to ‘put something back’ into the environment and encourage birds, insects and other creatures into the habitat.
Teaching kids about trees don’t mean training them to memorize random facts. But part of the importance of trees for kids is often their practical benefits. The oxygen that we breathe, the fruit that we eat, and the paper that we write on all come from the plants.
Not only does a child need to understand the practical side of trees, but approaching their benefits in this way can bring the lessons or activities to their level. If a child feels that the information at hand directly affects or applies to them they may be more likely to eagerly accept it. This means you’re upping engagement and making the science more accessible.
We at UPAY are encouraging our kids to get their hands dirty in the garden, which will also help them develop valuable new life skills. After all, what could be more enjoyable than getting dirty, creating their own flowerbeds, and watching things grow?
A similar initiative was taken by Mrs Sarita Siwach, the center coordinator and Mrs Anju Pandey, center head at Footpathshaaala Sector 57. This UPAY center caters to the children from the migrant community living in the tents & working as daily wage labours at a construction site in the dynamic city of Gurugram.
Footpathshaala, an outdoor classroom for the underprivileged children, where benches are replaced by pavements in an effort to replace begging bowls by books has an added benefit to letting children learn in the lap of Nature and promote greener planet.
Gardening is not only a healthy, fun, and fulfilling activity that children can enjoy together, but it will also help our little ones develop new skills and expand their knowledge about the science of growing.
“It is a great way to encourage as each child has adopted a sapling imparting a healthy attitude to responsibility and accountability that will also help them take pride in their accomplishments,” says Nihal, a volunteer at Nagpur who mentors the underprivileged children in the slums of Laxmi Nagar through our Reach & Teach initiative.
Gardening is a great way to stimulate a child’s imaginations and an opportunity to exercise their creativity. Whether they’re selecting plants, learning to grow things, or planting, the garden is a great environment to explore and discover new and exciting ways to build and grow.
And encouraging kids to get out into the garden will not only help them to develop core life skills but will also help improve their sensory and physical development.
An added benefit of having an outdoor classroom where our children can learn about nature, plants, nutrition, and even different weather conditions. These educational benefits will have a positive impact as they grow into young adults.
From observing how the sunshine affects the growth of plants, through to watching the important role insects play in the garden, children will be able to gain an appreciation for nature and the circle of life.
And who knows, one day they might pass the valuable life skills they’ve acquired from you on to their own children!
Penned by: Deboshree Bhattacharya