This morning, I couldn’t quite face sitting in front of a computer. And so, I went into the garden, to do some weeding and plant some seeds. I thought about how rich in stimuli a garden is! So today, I’ll be looking at how gardening and beeing in a garden can be utilised to assist with speech and language development. Because gardening with your toddler is fun!
This one is pretty obvious. But to expand on just talking about colours, make it a bit more complex and talk about dark and light. Send your toddler on a hunt to find dark green leeves and light green leaves whilst you dig! If such concepts are still too difficult, focus on one colour. Show your child a yellow flower, and tell him to go and find others. For some tips about what you can say and how to comment, see 5 Strategies that Speech Therapists use.
Focus on a few words whilst you’re in the garden. If your baby is at a one word level, target easier action words: “put in” “pick” “pour”. Repeat these words in simple sentences whilst you’re doing them, then also encourage them to do the actions, and ask what they’re doing! If they don’t say it, they can use a gesture to express the actions (more on gestures in an upcoming post!).
For a toddler who is at the age where they should start combining two words (around 18 months), target an action word with an object: “water flower”, “plant the seed”, “dig with the spade”.
Play is so extremely important for your toddlers’ development! Gardening with your toddler is the perfect time for play to get a bit dirty! Give your child his/her own “gardening” tools – don’t worry about buying expensive toys, a spoon, cup and bucket will do! Let your child pick some flowers and leaves to make their own garden, and water them!
Whilst you can comment about what they are doing and ask questions, allow some free play as well!
A fun activity to do whilst gardeining with your toddler is to make a little garden book with them! Pick some flowers, press them and then stick them in the book. You can write the name and colour of the flower next to it! You can also draw a picture of a flower on a blank page, for them to colour in.
Whilst we’re talking about literacy, there are some great garden themed books out there! See this post by Mama of Littles for some great ideas:My Favorite Toddler Books About the Garden