How gardening can provide wonderful sensory experiences for your child.

Gardening is a wonderful pass time for many people but it can be associated with retired people with time on their hands. I think this is a shame as everyone can try and enjoy gardening for its mindful moments  and connection with nature. Gardening is also a wonderfully fun and educational activity for children. As well as being these things, it can also have wonderful sensory benefits. Whether your child has a sensory need or not, gardening has many sensory benefits that will help with their overall development.

Why is the development of our senses important?

Educators are beginning to understand just how important sensory development is to our children’s overall development. Sensory play activities enhance learning through hands-on activities that are designed to develop your child’s sense of touch, smell, sight, balance, taste, hearing and movement. It’s the gradual development of how a child gains control of their bodies and makes sense of how they fit into the world around them. Giving children the right sensory activities will help them explore,create, investigate and problem solve at their own level.

What is a sensory need?

Some children may not receive and send the correct information to their senses which can cause a sensory need. The most traditional sensory need is when a child has a hearing or sight loss but they can develop Sensory processing disorder  which may affect their development. I found this post really useful to find out more. I am not an Occupational Therapist but I have 20 years experience with teaching children in Primary schools. If you think your child may have a sensory need, please see your child’s GP or contact an Occupational Therapist who will be able to help you.

Gardening can help your hidkd’s sensory development
Playing and exploring in the garden

How gardening can help your child.

Not only is gardening great fun and healthy, there are many sensory benefits too.

Proprioceptive Input (joints, muscles and connective tissues)

Digging in the garden.

Help to push the wheelbarrow.

Carrying soil in buckets.

Carry sticks or wood.

Watering the garden using a watering can.

Rolling around the grass.

How gardening can help to develop the senses of our children
Children love playing in the soil making mud pies or playing mud kitchens.

Smell Input (careful that children do not eat plants)

Making potions using garden bits and bobs.

Making perfumes using petals.

Collecting pieces of plants to make a collage.

Tactile Input

Feeling and rubbing a variety of plant parts.

Sorting seeds.

Making mud pies or playing in a mud kitchen.

Making marks in the soil or on stones.

Harvesting flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Scooping and pouring dry soil.

Auditory Input

Bashing pots with sticks.

Putting stones or seeds inside pots and shaking them.

Making wind chimes from bits you find in the garden.

Listening for the birds.

Listening for very quiet sounds such as the buzzing if the bees.


For more inspiration on the types of activities that may inspire you check out this Instagram account  from Rachel which I absolutely love. There are many ideas for sensory play here.

Rhyming with Wine
Mum Muddling Through

Lucy At Home

The ladybirds' adventures


    • Oh that’s great Star! I truly believe being outside is so helpful for all children as it connects them with nature. I think modern living has stopped this….ah I feel a post coming on!

    • That’s very kind Kayleigh! Thank you. I don’t tend yo do these awards but I’m very pleased to be nominated. x

  • I’ve only become a bit more involved in gardening since we bought our own house, but I’m hoping to do more and hopefully my daughter can join in too #dreamteam

    • Yes, its a lovely thing to enjoy with children. x

  • My daughter absolutely loves gardening so it was really fascinating to see how the breakdown of how it benefits them on different sensory levels, Hopefully, the weather will hold to allow lots of gardening over the Easter hols. Have a lovely Easter! xoxo

  • This is brilliant Sophie. My little one seems to be at her happiest out in the sunshine, playing at gardening, making mud pies and fairy potions. It definitely has a calming effect. I just wish we had a bigger garden! Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam and I can’t wait to have you guest hosting with us next week xx

    • Thank you for your kind words Annette. I can’t wait!

  • Fascinating read and great to see toddlers pottering in the garden in your photos – lovely! Nature therapy for everyone. Thanks for the Blogcrush mention this week too

  • Our girls love helping in the garden and home. It’s lovely to read that it is beneficial to all. #DreamTeam

  • My little man loves the garden and has just got to the stage where he likes to get his hands dirty! I’m not so green fingered so it’s Nanny & Grandad that get to enjoy this activity with him! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

  • I love these ideas! I’m absolutely terrible at gardening but we have a go once in a while. Doesn’t help that our back garden is a bit of a building site and the front is massively exposed to the world and the wind. This has given me extra incentive to get out there with Dee though, thank you! #BlogCrush

  • I’m such a terrible gardener but I’m so glad my parents always had one. I love to return to visit it and help my dad. (He doesn’t actually let me touch plants thanks to my hand of death, but I can assist in moving rocks!) #BlogCrush

    • ‘Hand of death!’ Haha Heather! I’m sure you don’t have a hand of death lovely lady. Thanks for the comment. X

  • All of these ideas just sound like so much fun – making perfumes, listening to the birds, making mud pies – it’s what childhood should be all about! Thank you for the inspiration. I have to confess that I am not a gardener at all but I can definitely do these things with my kids.

    And congratulations on being this week’s featured post on #blogcrush 🙂

    • Thank you Lucy! Should be able to link again next week when we are back to work. X

  • I’ve just started gardening again now that I have a little time – my kids are 2 and 4. Thanks for the reminder to let them be involved, messy and all! #blogcrush

    • I’m glad, everyone can enjoy their garden.

  • Oh I love this post! So so true, gardening and just being out in nature is so good for children and a wonderful sensory experience. It’s so therapeutic and relaxing for them too. Beautifully written. #blogcrush

    • Well if you show them where their food comes from they will be interested. Start them young I say! good luck and thanks for stopping by my blog. X

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