Educating Kids About Wildlife
Getting kids involved in wildlife gardening has many educational benefits. They’ll get to understand issues of key importance such as global warming and climate change which will have a major impact upon their future and will teach them other useful transferable skills which they can use in other areas throughout both their childhood and later in life.
HygieneFor kids, an opportunity to get out in the garden means the opportunity to get dirty without being yelled at. It’s also an opportunity for us, as adults, to teach them about important issues such as contaminants and bacteria, which can be found in soil and about the dangers of chemicals, including pesticides. After a day’s gardening, therefore, children should be only too aware of the importance of washing themselves thoroughly and about hygiene in general.
Love and RespectNothing melt’s a child heart quite as much as seeing a species of wildlife going about its daily business, especially when it’s with its young. It could be a bird bringing food back to the nest for its chicks or a duck leading its ducklings to water. Whatever type of creature, most children will often display the ‘Awwww’ factor and by spending time in the garden and educating a child in the behaviour of a particular species, it will instil a love and respect in the child for the environment and for the plants and wildlife that live within it. This love and respect will often be transferred to other areas of a child’s life and make them a more rounded person as a result.
Physical ActivityWildlife gardening isn’t just about experiencing the fun and wonderment of what goes on in the garden but also involves physical effort. With lots of digging and planting needed alongside other tasks, it’s a great way to encourage kids away from the TV or their hand-held computer games and get them involved in some kind of physical activity. Not all children are competitive so can be put off sports, yet a few hours working in the garden now and again can have just as positive an effect on a child’s physical well-being as well as being just as fun as any sport.
NutritionKids will also get to learn all about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and, if they’ve played a part in growing them, they’re far more likely to eat the ‘fruits’ of their labours themselves.
Social SkillsYoung kids in particular like nothing more than to ape the behaviour of their parents. If kids are invited to help out in the garden and can see that they’re carrying out the same tasks in a similar fashion to their parents, they’ll appreciate the activity a lot more. This also allows for a good degree of social interaction. They’ll want to ask questions which will educate them further, and in working alongside others to achieve a common goal, this will also improve their conversational skills and to gain an understanding of teamwork, both of which will help them throughout their life.
In addition to all of these things, wildlife gardening will enable kids to experience a sense of wonderment, an opportunity to relax and reflect and to look upon their efforts with pride and will instil in them a great sense of achievement. Therefore, in educating children about wildlife and other things that grow in the garden, you’re not only increasing their capacity to understand the world about them, you’re providing them with the opportunity to learn many skills which they’ll go on to develop and use in other areas throughout their lives.