As a little girl, if there was dirt or mud nearby, I was going to find it! I am sure my poor mom was forever doing laundry. I loved, LOVED, to get muddy! If I could not find glorious squishy mud, then I would make my own. Fast forward to me all grown up and my love for all things nature is much more refined – working outdoors on my deck during a beautiful Spring day like today, exploring new parks and trails, and gardening. There is something so satisfying about planting, nurturing, and eventually eating what you have grown in your yard or on a patio.
Turns out gardening is more than just an adult version of a favorite childhood occupation – there are very real health benefits to gardening including reduced anxiety and stress, improved self-esteem, and opportunities for social engagement. For our children, gardening also offers an opportunity to engage in creative play that does not rely on batteries or a screen. Gardening can help your child work on motor, sensory, cognitive, and social-emotional goals in a unique and engaging way. Smelling a mint leaf crushed between their fingers, digging with a shovel, feeling the fuzzy leaves of a lamb’s ear plant, or taking turns pulling weeds. Gardening with your child can be as simple as a small indoor garden or outdoor planter, joining one of the many community gardens near you, or exploring your neighbor’s garden.
Locus Family Centered Therapies is so excited to launch our own gardening program, Seeds and Sprouts. We have created home gardening kits that include everything you need to get started planting, nurturing, and eventually harvesting plants with your child. We are also in the process of developing larger raised planting beds in the area where you and your treating therapist can hold a session and plant, water, and nurture existing plants; maybe taking home a vegetable (or three!) to cook together. Ask your occupational therapy provider for more information and let’s get outside and dig!