Play and Development
Debbie Mobbs
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The benefits of creating your own veggie garden.

We have had a patch of ground in our garden where I have been wanting to plant some veggies for a while now. When I mentioned this idea to my kids, they were so excited about it that we decided to turn it into a mini family project over one weekend :)

We first researched all the vegetables that would grow in a cold, wet winter climate (benefit 1: computer and research skills) and then headed off to the local garden centre on a Friday afternoon.

Once at the garden centre we decided to mainly buy seedlings rather than seeds as these would grow quicker and therefore we could enjoy eating them sooner! We had a small budget with which to work (benefit 2: maths and budgeting skills) so had to make decisions around what was affordable and what would grow at this time of year. We ended up buying the following seedlings: cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot, onions and lettuce to plant in our veggie patch.

The following day the weather was sunny and cool, perfect for gardening! The kids got their spades out and we started preparing the soil (benefit 3: the physical exercise and effort of digging with spades to loosen the soil). Once the soil was prepared the planning part of what to plant where began (benefit 4: perceptual skills use to organise the soil and determine how many seedlings to plant in a row etc).

The fun and messy part was planting the seedlings (benefit 5: tactile sensory experience of using ones hands to dig and plant the seedlings).

My kids came up with the cool idea of making a scarecrow to 'look after the veggie patch". Luckily we had an old broom stick, t-shirt, hat, scraps of fabric and gloves! It was wonderful to see their creativity unfold as they brainstormed what we could use from around the garden and home to make him come to life :) (benefit 6: social skills of teamwork and compromise whilst being creative and having fun in making an idea become a reality). Isn’t he great?!

Once our veggie patch was complete and "Simon the Scarecrow" was in position, the kids watered their veggies and planned how to take care of them over the next few weeks. Care of the veggie patch includes regular watering, weeding and removing caterpillars or bugs that are eating the plants (benefit 7: learning a sense of responsibility by caring and looking after something).

Now we wait to enjoy our hard work at a meal time once they have grown and are ready to eat. On reflection of our veggie patch journey, the biggest and probably most important benefit was the family time and sense of achievement that we all felt after spending some quality time together and completing this fun project as a family. So what are you waiting for? We'd love to see your creations so please send us a pic via Facebook when you are done.

Sensational Kids has a number of products and toys that are garden related and we hope you enjoy some of these as we enter spring:

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