Stacy Shares: Exploring the Senses in Your Own Backyard

Stacy from KidsStuffWorld.com is a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador

This family activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet. Explore your backyard in a new way with this sensory adventure.

Gardening with my kids is a big deal to me. It is one of the most rewarding ways we spend time together. There are so many memories to be made, wonders to behold and lessons to be learned; it’s amazing what you can do with some sun, a little soil and water, and your own five senses!

Exploring the Senses in Your Own Backyard

SIGHT
Brightly colored flowers look striking in containers, hanging baskets and flowerbeds. Giant flowers can also add an exciting visual effect. (This year we’re growing a natural clubhouse with sunflower walls!)
Plant: Marigolds, Morning Glories (they climb!), Zinnias, Sunflowers and Allium

Play: Have younger kids tell you the colors of each plant. Work with older to kids to recognize different types of flowers. As they explore in the sun, remember to protect their delicate eyes! Blossom Bright or Happy Giddy Flip-Up Sunglasses look adorable and are comfortable, too.

SMELL
It only takes a whiff of honeysuckle or wisteria to bring back fond memories of my childhood. Scents hold a special place in our memory banks–adding some to your backyard could make a lasting impression with your kids.
Plant: Chocolate Mint, Pineapple Mint, Lemon Verbena
Play: Sniff often! If growing herbs, take them indoors and use them in an exciting way–make an exotic lemonade or host a fancy tea party.

TASTE
That moment when your child picks his first fruit or veggie and takes a bite right off the vine could mean the difference between a picky eater and a veggie lover. (My littlest one, who has grown up with something always growing in the backyard, is the first to rush out and pick “may toes” when he wants a snack!)
Plant: Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Watermelon, Berries, Carrots, Beans, Radishes

Play: Have a taste test in the garden when things begin to ripen. (If you’re not gardening organically, make sure your kids know to wash everything first.) Kids can eat right off the vine, or collect produce in Happy Giddy Pail or Mollie & Bollie Pail.

TOUCH
We spend a lot of time in zoos and other places where my children are not allowed to touch a thing. I want our backyard to be the opposite–a place to explore, pick, pull, dig and do whatever their little minds come up with. I want a space where they can make a good, old-fashioned mud mess!
Play: Tempt kids to get down in the dirt with their very own gardening supplies. This Bella Butterfly Gardening Tote has everything they need!

SOUND
Spend a quiet moment to listen to the sounds of the backyard: birds chirping, branches rustling in the breeze, wind chimes. During a happy afternoon outside you’re bound to hear another precious sound, too: The giggles of your kids, having a wonderful time in the garden!
Play: When you’re in the backyard try and identify sounds and determine where they’re coming from!

Please feel free to share any more ideas you might have!

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Stacy Teet is the author of KidsStuffWorld! A military mom turned supermom, this nature-loving, wannabe crafter has a positive outlook and fresh perspective on everyday life. She’s on a mission to raise three happy, healthy, well-balanced kids and best of all, she wants to share her secrets! Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. She’s sure to inspire you with new ideas, helpful insights and easy steps to connect with your community and care for the planet. Check out the whole story on her Web site, KidsStuffWorld.com, or take a peek behind the scenes by following her on PinterestTwitter or the KSW Facebook page.