Getting a Little Dirty
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and get a little dirty. That is exactly what a few of our Fantastic Friends volunteers and participants did. They took an outing to a local garden center, purchased plants (in everyone’s favorite colors of course), soil, and a pot. Then they ventured back to the playhouse and well, got a little dirty. They worked together, collaborated, laughed, and had great conversations. Everyone participated, even those reluctant to get a little dirty.
Benefits of Gardening
There is a good reason for the positive moods during the gardening project. Gardening comes with several health benefits; it decreases stress, increases vitamin D, and is a form of low and high impact exercise depending on your project size. Gardening is also very therapeutic; it has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia and increase your mood. Gardening can also help bring a community together (like Fantastic Friends) and helps the environment.
Finally, the sensory benefits of gardening are essential in sensory input for everyone! Gardening engages our sense of sight, taste, smell, sound, and touch. Speaking of touch, the tactile component of gardening assists in gained fine motor skills. Gardening also aids in proprioceptive input with lifting, pulling, pushing, digging, and other heavy work.
Garden Project Challenge
I challenge your family to go to your local nursery to start a gardening project. Allow your child to help plan the project. They can pick the colors and, as a family, discuss the needs of the plants (sunlight, watering, type of soil). For school age, teens, and adult individuals set a budget to help with money management. Create a visual watering schedule for the entire family. Keep the plant labels with the plants for language and literacy development, your child can also practice writing the plant names for further fine motor skills, spelling, and letter sounds. Take the challenge to the next level and create a vegetable garden or a salsa garden. Regardless of the size of your project, go outside and get a little dirty!