Just as a garden needs regular care to produce bountiful produce, a child’s speech and language development needs constant tending to result in confident and competent communicators. Whether it is a garden bed, pots on a balcony or a paper cup in the window, gardening teaches:
Gardening can introduce your child to new words like trellis, compost, dahlias, magenta, kohlrabi, and shears. Seeing, hearing and touching the object will help cement that new word into your child’s vocabulary.
Children learn sequencing through gardening as they dig a hole, add the seed or the plant, cover with dirt, then water. As the plant gets bigger, it may develop flowers, and produce fruits or vegetables. This gives you the opportunity to discuss what comes first, what comes next, and what comes last.
Whether it’s fruits, vegetables, flowers or weeds, plants grow differently. Apples grow in a tree. Peas grow on a vine. Carrots and potatoes grow under the ground. Daisies may have yellow in the middle of the white petals. Weeds may grow between the garden rows. Be sure to point out the example to further provide a visual cue of the word. Your child will also see the example and this may help them learn and remember them more.
Sounds & writing
Until the seeds sprout and the seedlings mature, it can be difficult to figure out what is planted where. Children can write the names of the plants on leftover, clean popsicle sticks or paint the names on rocks. Doing so will help reinforce the sounds of the letters with the written letter, helping with both their speech and writing skills.
Children can learn antonyms or opposites by gardening. Wet/dry, dead/alive, tall/short, and big/little are all word pairs that are often heard when tending vegetables or growing flowers. Children can compare different plants of the same type – some peas might be tall, while some might be short. They can also compare different plants – lamb’s ear has rounded leaves while tomatoes have pointy leaves.
Help your nurture your child’s speech and language skills by growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The pay off will be a bountiful harvest of communication, delicious produce and beautiful blooms.