Building an Educational Garden for Your Kids at Home
In her book, Urban Homesteading, author Rachel Kaplan explains that the homesteading lifestyle is less about what you lose, and more about what you gain – in particular, time with loved ones and greater proximity to nature.
Research has shown that many Americans spend almost 90% of their lives indoors. If you have a large homestead garden and wish to encourage your children to spend more time in the Great Outdoors, why not entice and entertain them with these cool features?
Teaching Through Games
Game-based learning is big in many schools across America, but you can bring these techniques home as well, by creating dedicated game spaces in your homestead garden.
If you are a natural at landscaping, why not create a grass ‘chess board’, using grassy squares to represent the black squares, and paving or stones for the white ones? You can then carve or sculpt large chess pieces to play a game that will get your children to think strategically and have a far greater understanding of the impact of every move they make.
After all, a large-scale chess set can immerse them in the board itself, making the game more ‘real’.
Water Features in an Educational Garden
Because homestead gardens tend to be large, they make an ideal spot for garden water features. The sound of flowing water can soothe stress, which is ideal when children are learning!
You can plan an entire science class around the water fountain, setting up a desk by its side and completing a host of fun experiments – everything from sink or float activities to ‘rainbow walking’ experiments between jars, and salt water density experiments.
You can use water in another super fun yet educational way: by using a slip-n-slide in a fun math competition. When children get a mental math problem right, they can slide and pick up a treat or gift on the other side.
Making the Most of Vertical Space
If your garden is fenced, decorate the latter with large features your kids will love. These can include large wood-crafted flowers with incorporated blackboards in their center.
Kids can use these to take part in math competitions or write down passages you read, ensuring that every i is dotted and t crossed. Kids can also use this feature to play teacher when they are enjoying moments of free play.
A Makeshift Math Educational Garden
You can create many temporary learning spaces in your garden that hardly need any work. To teach children about fractions, for instance, you can simply use old tiles and draw fractions on them, so kids can instantly see the difference between common fractions like ½, ¾, ⅛. You can also set up a space that kids can use to paint the tiles themselves. Set up a fun game by saying a fraction and asking your child to draw it on the tile as quickly as they can.
To get kids more interested in nature, set up fun activities for them outdoors. From math-centered slip-and-slide games to outdoor sculpture and drawing, the sky’s the limit when it comes to making the most of your large garden. Be as creative as possible, including both permanent and temporary set-ups that you can adapt as your children get older and their education needs progress.
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