With the arrival of nice weather, people want to get out and deconfine, but how to do it safely? Gardening is a complete activity for the whole family that will bring hours of fun and depending on your projects an opportunity to activate all your senses, including your taste buds.
Gardening is a complete activity because it addresses your mind, body and soul. It develops several aspects of your psyche: creativity, physical activity, mindfulness, taking care of something and much more. This activity will help you burn calories and can help you control your blood pressure. Spending time outdoors is good for your entire body, including your bones. Growing your fruits, vegetables and herbs is not only good for the planet but will entice you to eat healthy and can help manage your stress.
In this time of pandemic, it is important to have goals, like taking care of yourself, of someone else or something. We also need to manage stress and isolation as well. Gardening doesn't have to be a complex activity and we don't need a lot of land either. The joys of urban gardening are well within reach of most people. Physical activity on a balcony may be less, but all the other benefits are the same. Here are some examples of energy expenditure:
Mowing the lawn for 1 hour = alpine skiing for 1 hour
Digging for 1 hour = swimming/crawling for 1 hour
Pulling weeds out for 2 hours = jogging at 10 km/h for 1 hour
Planting by hand for 1 hour = playing table tennis 1 hour.
Gardening can also be compared to other physical activities.
Pruning shrubs or trees with an electrical appliance is the equivalent of a moderate walk
Sweeping the earth and planting seeds is like a peaceful bike ride
Picking up and carrying branches is like playing baseball Source Health Challenge
Gardening is a low-cost activity that is accessible to all. There's nothing better than playing outside while working. Gardening will bring you the satisfaction of a job well done. It is particularly important to include children in gardening.
Gardening may include a variety of tasks such as weeding, mowing the grass, planting (flowers, fruits, and vegetables), decorating pots or items for the outdoors, etc.
Here are some ideas of gardening activities (with or without children).
For children who read, this activity is great for reading comprehension. They will also see the usefulness of being able to read and understand in a practical and playful context.
· Toilet paper roll / egg container with or without shell
· Garden soil
· plastic container or box lid
Start by putting the toilet paper rolls in the lid of the box or in the plastic container. Add the soil, plant the seeds and water according to guidelines. When
the time comes, transplant them directly in the ground.
Your lawn will be clean and beautiful. This activity should not have a negative connotation. If you perceive this task as a chore, your children will not want to do it either.
Making a birdhouse or feeder
This activity can be free if you use recycled materials such as plastic bottles, milk or juice container, etc. Young and old alike will enjoy seeing the varieties of birds in the neighborhood and hearing them sing.
Fruits, vegetables, and herbs
Whether it's a garden in your backyard or on your balcony, it’s always interesting and especially good to cook with fresh produce. You can also use them to prepare excellent herbal teas for a restful sleep (chamomile, mint, lavender) or to flavour your drinking water.
Here are some examples for a balcony: tomatoes, strawberries, chilis, herbs, etc. Young and old will appreciate the products of your vegetable garden, as small or as large as it may be.
Decorating and/or making pots
Another activity that is inexpensive and brings hours of fun is decorating and/or making pots! Use any paint you may be saving for rainy day. Add some rope as a border to make original, dazzled flowerpots. If you have old boots or shoes, why not transform them into a flowerpot? You can also use old cups, a kettle or any other item you want to get
rid of. Go on a treasure hunt with your children. They can make their own pot and plant what they want, and they will be responsible for the plants they grow in their own pot. This will make it easier than if they are not involved in the process.
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