Toddlers Day Out

Toddlers Day Out

Exploring the Great Outdoors Indoors!

Exploring the Great Outdoors Indoors!

Exploring the Great Outdoors Indoors!

Let your toddler explore the wonders of nature with a day out to a Botanical Garden. While neatly tended gardens may not seem like the ideal place to take rambunctious toddlers, many botanical gardens have family programs and activities that will keep your little one engaged and active in the gardens. There are a surprising amount of gardens throughout the country, find the closest one to you and research what they offer for families and nursery groups.

Many botanical gardens house giant greenhouse structures making it an ideal activity for rainy, cold days. The moist air in the gardens could also help make a child suffering from the sniffles more comfortable. If a botanical garden does not have any family offerings that suit you, try out some of these fun activities to help your child interact with their surroundings. Follow up with home-based activities to keep the fun and learning going.

Explore Animal Life

As you make your way through the gardens, stop regularly and ask your child what sort of animals they think might live near or eat the plants you are walking by. Depending on the garden you are visiting you may be able to investigate native wildlife such as foxes, badgers and adders, or perhaps more tropical creatures like parrots, praying mantis and monkeys. Encourage imaginative thought in your child by including imaginary and mythical creatures such as unicorns, centaurs, mermaids and the Loch Ness monster in your discussion.

Increase Vocabulary

With the abundance of unusual shapes, colours, and smells to be found in botanical gardens, take this as an opportunity to encourage your toddler to use new words to describe sensations. Asking leading questions such as “what does this leaf look like”, “what does the smell of this flower remind you of” and “what other things are the same colour as this plant” will help draw out descriptive and sensory words from your child.

Story Time

Search through your toddler’s book collection for stories that are set in jungles, forests or woodlands and bring them with you to the garden. Find a cosy bench to curl up and tell tall tales amongst the plants. Reading a story with a similar setting to the garden you are visiting when you first arrive is a great way to encourage a reluctant or shy toddler to explore.

Create a Treasure Hunt

This activity will take a little bit of pre-planning, with an advance trip to the garden to take photographs being necessary. Depending on the garden website you may be able to use photos from their website. Take photos of interesting leaves, landmarks and flowers then print them onto flash cards that are sturdy enough for toddler hands to hold. Let your child search for the plants and flowers on the flashcards.

Home Activities

Once you are home from your adventure to the Botanical Gardens keep your toddler’s interest in plants and flowers alive. If you have access to a garden invest in toddler-sized gardening tools – Spotty Green Frog has a great selection of kits to help your little one further understand how plants grow. If you don’t have access to a garden, arrange for a delivery of flowers from a company such as Bloom Magic so your little one can keep exploring shapes, colours and smells. Picking apart a bouquet and re-arranging it in another vessel is a great activity to promote fine motor skills.

Happy Exploring!

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