Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gardening with SPD

I was inspired by a post in this blog about building a sensory garden especially since my husband is a landscaper and my son loves helping him. Gardening can provide tons of sensory input for an individual in almost every sensory we have. Here are some ideas that might help you encourage your child to be outside and get some creative sensory input in.
If your child does not like to get dirty you might consider getting a gardening pad so they can kneel on it. Allowing them to use gardening tools or bring a bucket of water for them to rinse their hands which they can end up watering the garden afterward.
  • Shoveling
  • Raking
  • Planting plants
  • Pulling weeds
  • Watering
  • Mowing
  • Making a planter
  • Putting in new dirt

Here are some ideas for plants to use:

  • Pussy Willow - They don't have leaves or needles but soft round tips like fir on the ends. It is more like a bush or tree as it has branches like a tree.
  • Mosses - There are a huge variety of decorative mosses that can be used as ground cover. Some produce small flowers and others produce odors like there is one that gives off a mint fragerance that can linger on your hand. You can rub your hands through the moss and not hurt it.
  • Lambs Ears - very silky foliage feeling like a little lambs ear.
  • Jerusalem Sage - Very soft leaves
  • African Sundew - A meat-eating plant that catches it's prety using a glue-like substance on the surface of its leaves, very sticky to touch.
  • Thistles - These are prickly in some way or another so please use with caution.
  • Coneflowers -prickly
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Chives
  • Violas
  • Nasturtiums
  • Berries - Some types require a male and female plant
  • Herbs - There is a huge variety of herbs that can be tasted.
  • Vegetables - A huge variety
  • Sunflowers - Eat the seeds
  • Pumpkins
  • Roses - I would be careful with this type of plant because they have so many different varieties. Make sure they smell (Yes, thay have types with very little smell to no smell at all) and try to find ones that don't have thorns.
  • Saracoca - This is more of a winter bush that produces a strong beautiful fragrance. It also produces small white flowers.
  • Mint - There is peppermint, spearmint, and just regular mint and probably some others. A quick tip is to make sure even if you plant this in your garden to make sure you plant it in a container. Any type of mint if not contained in the dirt will multiply and take over your garden.
  • Clethra -Vanilla scent
  • Honeysuckle
  • Lavender
  • Scented Geraniums
  • Chameleon Plant - Lemon scent
  • Chocolate Cosmos
  • Various Herbs
There are so many types of flowers in an aray of colors. If your child is sensitive to certain colors or a lot of color you might want to watch what you plant according to your child's needs. (Also, red flowers tend to attract hummingbirds if you have them in your area and bluish purple colored ones tend to attract butterflies.)

Variety of Colors
  • Pansy
  • Roses - Be mindful of thorns and fragrance.
  • SnapDragons - If you squeeze the center of the flower the flower will open up and you can make it look like it's talking.
  • Poppies
  • Wildflower Meadow Mix
  • Zinnias
  • Tulips
  • Balloon Flowers
  • Coneflowers
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Daffodils
  • Marigolds
  • Pumpkins
  • Heuchera (Chocolate Ruffles) - purple colored leaves with chocolate colored undersides, pink flowers
This group may be difficult in some areas due to lack of wind as some of these only make sound when the wind blows them.
  • Decorative Grasses - Requires the wind to blow them to make a soft sound
  • Bambo
  • Love in the Mist - It has rattling seed heads
  • Variegatus - bambo-like foliage
  • Sweet corn - rusles in the wind
There are also plenty of things you can add to your garden to add more sensory input such as:
  • rock paths (auditory and tactile)
  • wind chimes (auditory)
  • anything that can be blown in the wind (visual)
  • statues (visual and tactile)
  • bird feeders (visual and auditory when the birds make noise)
  • water fountain or moving water (tactile and auditory)
  • Painted planter containers (visual)
  • Tunnels through plants with leaves (tactile and auditory) good plants for this would be climbing types
  • Hanging things that can be blown in the wind that twirl (visual) These can be bought at the dollar store or at more expensive places but when you have young kiddos it might be better to go cheap if you have it low.
  • Wood stumps for chairs (tactile)
  • Steping stones that can even be decorated with different items for different textures (tactile)
  • Brick paths (tactile)
  • Play bark (tactile)
  • Bean Teepees (tactile)
  • Hammocks or hanging chairs (vestibular)
  • Garden ponds (tactile)
Anyhow, here is an awesome website that I'll also stick in the sensory page above. Sensory Gardens for Kids

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