Calming Sensory Play in the Family Garden

I have been trying my hand at gardening recently to get more fresh food into our diet. But don’t tell my neighbors I am new to all this gardening gadgetry, for by the looks of this Birthday garden gadget gift from my dad I look like a total PRO.

I have been wanting to get my kids more involved in gardening for a long while. Sure the food is our own, so we will know it is free of pesticides and grown in good mineral-filled soil, but there are more benefits than just feeding my kids nutritious foods. Sensory play is built into gardening just naturally and that means calmer kids. It’s yoga outside the studio.

Nature teaches our children to be more thoughtful and calm

Planting a garden helps kids to be more mindful and grounded. It teaches them a sense of wonder.

Smells, textures, tastes, and heavy work are a few of the senses that are engaged when sensory play happens in our family garden. Plus, I have found most of these sensory activities in the garden to be grounding and calming for the kids AND me! This usually leads me to be more mindful in general. Always a good thing.

I hope you will find ways in your own garden to find calm, and be more grounded too. Here are 4 quick ideas that really work. Give them a try!

Garden Sensory Play that Calms Kids:

  1. Heavy work tasks calm by using deep muscle receptor activation. Hauling dirt on a tarp, pushing a wheel barrow, and stacking bricks will get those deep receptors to fire and cause calming neurotransmitters to be released. A good 20-30 of this type of work won’t tire kids, but it will calm them down.
  2. Nature is beautiful, even if it is in a small garden patch. Seeing plants and trees and grass, as well as watching the slow but steady pace of nature is calming. Once you start your garden, it will become a place you hide away in from the rest of the world. Add some artful bunnies statutes or fairy themed signs, and you kids are certain to calm down form a long day at school.
  3. Smells can be just plain calming in and of themselves. There are of course smells that everyone likes, and some more than others. The smell of dirt and fresh cut grass for example are just two obvious smells that bring ideas of spring and carefree days to mind for me. Even if you kids don’t love these smells yet, after one season of gardening, they are sure to crave them!
  4. Tastes and foods are grounding, and if you or your children find them to be grounding, then it’s a plus if they are healthy. Chewy foods like string beans are theoretically calming. So are foods you can suck, lick juicy tomatoes or plums. Knowing food is nourishing and that they came from their own back yard, has a charm factor that just can’t be matched.

Muddy shoes and dirty hands, clothes, and shovels prove to me that this is the way to go for natural sensory play. Even better, the veggies in the fall will be a great built in reward!

Keeping Animals Out Of Our Garden: #1 Gardening Tip!

Raised bed with hinged top

Raised bed with hinged top

The one idea that we found to be priceless was a hinged and covered raised garden bed. All the fruits of our labor we’re kept safe from our groundhog and deer visitors. We enjoyed the food, and they didn’t. So if you want to get outside as a family this year, I recommend taking a look at these plans on how we built it. Not to hard. Totally worth it.

We got the plans from a great blog on home building ideas. If you like this design check the plans out at: My dad and husband adjusted the plans a bit to meet our need of keeping the dear away. The top arches have wire mesh between them as do the ends. The bottom of the bed has chicken wire too, to keep out the digging type rascals that might want our goodies.

So enjoy a look at our Big Garden Garden Gadget. We hope you enjoy this idea and we hope it works! We’ll keep you posted on what we harvest in terms of food and great family sensory fun!





By dusk we have the plant starts in!

By dusk we have the plant starts in!


4 thoughts on “Calming Sensory Play in the Family Garden

  1. Looks great !

    We built a raised bed this year too. It has been a lot of fun! We have gotten a lot of lettuce. Our strawberries are ok – I think maybe they need a few years but the blueberries have been really yummy. That bush/tree was here when we moved in so it seems to be pretty well established. What all did you plant?

    • We planted cabbages, beets and cucumbers. We also have tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers. We started strawberries, but they won’t fruit till next year. You are lucky to have that blueberry tree. Can’t get more local than a bush in your backyard. Hope you enjoy the Blueberry Button Boy song too I just posted too. You can sing it while picking!

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