Gardens are places of special meaning and fond memories. Gardens are also good places, especially for kids, to develop ideas, attitudes, and skills associated with nature, which can be carried on into adulthood. For instance, if you were to give it some thought, could you recall specific plants or important events from your own childhood gardening experience?
I have fond memories of my grandfather’s garden and the sweet, juicy strawberries he grew. I used to eat them straight from the vine and sit beneath the large, weeping willow tree on a bench just behind his small, koi fishpond to devour my treasures. I can also recall talks he had with me about growing plants. This is where my passion for gardening began.
Memories like this last a lifetime. And while it may be difficult for children to recall what they had for lunch yesterday, ask them about something they did in the garden and they’re sure to remember. Gardens are well known for triggering memories, and there’s no better learning tool for children than gardening. Not only do kids get hands-on experience involving things like digging and planting, but when kids become involved with all aspects of gardening, they are more open to learning and recalling important life skills, from concentration to responsibility and respect.
Gardens are resourceful places where kids can develop lifelong skills for interacting with nature as well as with others. Plants in the garden can improve kids’ memory and their ability to recall facts. Gardens can also improve their vocabulary.
Ideas for Improving Memory Skills
One of the best ways to increase kids’ memory skills is by planting gardens of their very own. Create a garden environment that is rich and memorable for kids, filled with diverse wildlife, plants, and play areas. Keep it simple and allow them to choose what plants to put in the garden. At first, the kids may simply want to play in the garden, which is normal. However, you can help spark further interest and fun by incorporating playtime with planting. How? Add fun games and plants.
For instance, start with favourite vegetables. Kids love to “graze” on ripe vegetables so use this opportunity to teach them about the importance of garden etiquette, such as what plants are safe, where to step in the garden, and how to care for it. Give them subtle, but fun, instructions for learning the basics of soil, seed, patience, and reward. Their gardens will soon develop into fond memories of their parents (or others) teaching them, helping them, and sharing with them. Growing their own vegetables will not only make learning fun, but will ultimately increase memory development, expanding their knowledge of healthy foods.
The lessons a garden can teach are endless. Did you know that our brains remember pictures easier? Visualisation is a powerful learning tool that can be incorporated into the garden to improve memory skills. Bird watching is a great way to help improve memory skills through visualising. Teach kids about different types of birds that are native to your area and see if they can spot them in the garden. Make sure to use pictures. These can be cut from old books or magazines and pasted onto index cards. Include the names of the birds.
Help kids remember how to get from point A to point B by creating a maze garden. Simply add various winding paths throughout the garden, some leading to dead ends and others continuous. For further interest, add little surprises along the way and pictures that help direct them.
When elements such as reading, writing, and language are included in a garden, kids are more inclined to improve upon these skills. Creating themed gardens relating to a favourite storybook is another way to improve kids’ memory through gardening. A storybook theme can be accomplished from choosing plants and objects that are associated with a particular story or favourite character. Take, for instance, Cinderella. Have kids choose plants related to the book, like pumpkins.
Writing can improve memory and supplying kids with a garden journal is another great idea. Have them draw pictures of their plants as they grow and write descriptions or thoughts relating to them.
Language skills can be incorporated as well. Help them memorise the alphabet by creating a garden using plants beginning with each letter. Don’t forget to label them. For example, alliums for A, begonias for B, cosmos for C, daisies for D, echinacea for E, etc. This concept also works well for learning about colours. Place red plants in one section, yellow in another, blue and so on. Gardens can be building blocks for play as well as education. Remember, memories can last a lifetime; learning can too.