Nature play teaches kids to grow their own veggies

Childers vegetable garden
Hooray for corn! The kids at Isis Child and Family Support Service love growing and eating their own vegetables.

Nature-based play has been the ongoing theme at Isis Child and Family Support Service in Childers, with children learning how to plant a vegetable garden.

It's all thanks to funding received through the Department of Education's Small Assistance Grant which has allowed the centre to “green up” the area to help children engage with nature-based play and learning.

“There is so much research about the enormous benefits for children around outdoor and natural play,” Early Years and Family Worker Leanne Fuller said.

“Not to mention keeping physical activity levels up and obesity levels down, and less time to be on screens while running around outside.”

Leanne said some of the changes to the centre included lots of greenery, bright areas and a sensory space where children could engage with different textures.

“Our grand opening earlier this year was very successful with many local families coming along to enjoy the family fun day,” she said.

“The children planted many seedlings into our new garden beds that day and have watered them diligently.”

Childers vegetable garden ready for picking

Childers vegetable garden
The garden beds are flourishing at the Isis Child and Family Support Service.

Leanne said four months later, the children were now enjoying the fruits of their labour.

“They have watched the growth progress of the garden beds and have loved picking things when they are ripe and ready,” Leanne said.

“Our lettuces have all been picked and eaten already.

“Rainbow silver beet, parsley and roly poly carrots have also added to the families plates at mealtimes.

“Our tomatoes have gone crazy, spilling out of their bed and producing hundreds of tomatoes.”

Leanne said the new Childers vegetable garden and nature play area had given the children more opportunity for outside play.

“So much so it’s sometimes hard to get them to come in for the indoor activities planned, or even for morning tea!” she said.

“We are ready to plant some more seedlings into our beds when the children return from holidays in October.

“It is very obvious that children and families are spending a lot more time outdoors and the learning that is occurring through the outdoor play and the connection with nature is amazing.”