Close your eyes and imagine you are kneeling in front on the warm grass, a plot of dirt before you. Feel the sunshine on your bare arms. Listen to the wind blow the green leaves above you. Relax your shoulders and take a deep breath, inhaling the sweet spring air. Slowly lean forward and press your outspread hands into the warm earth. Gently press your fingers into the soil and begin to squeeze it. Feel the soil crumble into pieces, giving way to your hands. Inhale the sweet earth smell of petrichor. Now imagine yourself releasing the stress of the last week into bubbles that float into the air. Release what is not yours to hold.
That feeling is one of the many reasons we garden. The proper name for this feeling is horticulture therapy, and it is gaining traction as an easy and cost effective way to release stress for adults and children. As adults, we are able to vocalize what is pressing into our comfortable world, however when children are unable to find the words to express what is not feeling right it can come out in behavior that is undesirable. While horticultural therapy isn’t a one stop shop for encouraging desired behavior, it is an easy way to give children an outlet to experience new sensations, expend energy, and realign their focus.
Thankfully, Pinterest has a plethora of ideas for horticultural therapy that you can do in your classroom and at home! Ready Set Grow has it’s own Pinterest, and one of the board’s features ideas from the web all about horticulture therapy!
Here are a few links to check out for more information:
- Looking for more information on Horticulutral Therapy? Scope out a book specifically about “Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs”
Sift through this article about The Benefits of Horticultural Therapy for Children
- Tips for creating your own sensation path leading in your OLE (outside learning environment)
- Feeling the angry feels? Dig into this article about redirecting that healthy emotion with gardening!