This activity involves growing plants that will heighten the senses and provide a fun, exciting sensory experience to your Early Years’ outside time. It is best suited for older children in any size of group.
Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:
What you will need:
- Strongly scented herbs (basil, mint and lavender)
- Soft, hairy plants (lamb’s ears and Korean feather reed grass)
- Ornamental grasses (common quaking grass, Japanes silver grass and fountain grass)
- Colourful flowers (primroses, geraniums and forget-me-nots)
- An outdoor space with a planting area/room for pots
Preparing the activity:
- Depending on the age and ability of your Early Years, you can either prepare the garden beforehand or involve the children in the planting process.
- Plan the garden in sections separated by the different senses. A patch of herbs will stimulate both smell and (with supervision over harvesting and washing plants) taste, while ornamental grasses will create sound when the wind blows through them. Soft plants like lamb’s ears are perfect for children to explore using touch and coloured flowers will encourage children to look and inspect.
Doing the activity:
If planting the garden with the children, enable them to discuss which plants will go where, and why they are being separated that way. Encourage discussion about having to water plants when it doesn’t rain, and why the plants need sunlight.
Once the garden is planted, take the children on a “tour” of the different sections. Encourage your Early Years to explore and talk about what they can see, smell, touch, hear and even taste. Do they enjoy the smell of lavender or the taste of mint leaves? Do they prefer the blue geraniums over the yellow primroses? Can they count how many petals on a flower, or how many leaves on a stem of basil?
Once they know where everything is, ensure children feel free to explore the space as they wish – staying near their favourite section. Some seating placed around the area may help your children feel they can sit and listen to the grass or enjoy the smell of lavender.
Tracking the activity:
Understanding the world: The world: “Comments and asks questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world.; Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.; Talks about why things happen and how things work.; Developing an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time.; Shows care and concern for living things and the environment.”
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.”
Understanding the world: The world: “Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.”