Why kids should play in the Garden
Whether big or small, a sprawling jungle or a rooftop sanctuary, a garden is a wonderful space filled with foliage, colours, insects and birds. For toddlers and children a garden is a place where their imaginations can run wild, their senses find a respite from television screens and the hum of household appliances and they can benefit from being active.
It is a place where they can experience nature and the natural course of living things – the falling of leaves in autumn, the blooming of flowers in Summer and Spring, the flight of dragonflies and the buzz of bees. For parents, playing in the garden with your child forces you to switch off and quite literally smell the roses.
Being Active in the Garden
Being active plays an enormous role in growth and development and should be encouraged. For the child’s healthy development, physical activity should be encouraged from birth.
Toddlers (1 – 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 – 5 years) should be active for about 3 hours every day with activity spread throughout the day. Being active will help to develop muscles as well as gross and fine motor skills that they will need for school and beyond.
A fun way of keeping your toddler active is to play games. Try hide and seek, obstacle courses, hot potato and stuck in the mud. Walk barefoot on different surface such as grass, sand and concrete. Pretend to be an animal and walk on all fours – this is especially fun to play with children who are still crawling.
In terms of toys, choose toys that encourage movement and help develop skills like running, kicking, throwing and catching. Let your child lead you with regards to games to play. This is a good way of letting them develop their planning and communication skills. Encourage them to be inventive. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with!
Whatever you do, try to play outside more, have fun with your child at every stage of their development and provide them with the opportunity to grow into a healthy, active adult. Being an active child will benefit them hugely in the long run.
Some toys for toddlers and pre-schoolers that are ideal for garden play.
Little Tikes Monster Dirt Digger
Perfect for playing outside or in the sandpit, the Little Tikes Monster Dirt Digger features a dump truck with removable driver figure and a large, articulated crane arm with spring-loaded claw that can load sand on the truck. When it’s time to dump the sand, the bed tips sideways to empty its contents. The scooping arm is detachable so it can be used separately to dig in the sand. Ideal for ages 3 plus. Available at good toy stores countrywide. RSP: R399.99
The Little Tikes Activity Garden Stacker
The Little Tikes Activity Garden Stacker combines essential infant play patterns with fun to help baby grow and develop. Stack the cups on top of the turtle, and press down on the top cup to watch the turtle shake them all off. Ideal for ages 6 months to 3 years. RSP: R299.99 available at toy stores.
Little Tikes Activity Garden Plant and Play
Toddlers can pretend to plant and pick vegetables and flowers in the shape-sorting garden. The toy is interactive and fun. Press down on the bumble bee to make the flower “bloom” and to hear fun sounds. Pull spider to see it scurry back up to its web. Ideal for ages 12 months to 3 years. RSP: from R629.99
Little Tikes Push ‘n Play Turtle
This charming push and play turtle is a baby walker and baby activity center in one. It Introduces shapes and colours to baby and toddler. It features a built in shape sorter and the shapes make a popping sound while the walker is in motion. There are clicking toys that move up and down on the handle and spinning toys on the base. It also features a locking mechanism to keep walker from going too fast in walker mode. Ideal for ages 9 months plus. RSP: from R699.99
For more information go to www.Primatoys.co.za
Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) October 2017