If there’s one thing that’s at the heart of Happydesigner, it’s a love of the outdoors and nature. You can see it in so many of the children’s book illustrations we create for our clients.
So, we’re really pleased that at the end of the month, from May 27 to June 4, is National Children’s Gardening Week.
It’s all about celebrating the fun that gardens and gardening hold for children. The week itself is run by the charity Greenfingers, which supports children who spend time in hospices around the UK, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in and enjoy.
We hope youngsters enjoy these colouring sheets, and they inspire them to get outside and maybe even start growing their own flowers and veg.
Gardens frequently feature in children’s literature. Who can forget the magical place that Mary Lennox found in The Secret Garden? Or the Victoria paradise that Tom could slip into when the clock struck midnight in Tom’s Midnight Garden.
Reading about fictional gardens hopefully leads on to children playing outside. Which brings us nicely to…
Six benefits of being outdoors for youngsters
- Good mental health
Fresh air is great for everyone, but in this modern, hi-tech world, it’s all too easy for children to get stuck staring at a screen – laptops, phones, tablets, and even good old-fashioned television can turn children into sedentary souls. Being outside is perfect for promoting good mental health.
- Developing motor skills
Playing outside helps develop those all-important fine motor skills like walking, catching, running, crawling, climbing… the list goes on!
- Combating obesity
We’re all getting a bit larger, and sadly children are no exception. UK Government statistics show just over 10% of reception-age children were obese in 2021/22, with a further 12% being overweight. At ages 10 to 11, 23.4% were obese and 14.3% overweight. Getting outside means they’re running, jumping, playing, moving, and getting fit. If we want to combat the obesity epidemic, then fostering a love of gardens, gardening, and outdoor play are a great way to start.
- Improving general health
Being in the garden exposes children to sunlight, bringing a good dose of vitamin D, which is essential for building strong, healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps boost immunity in general, can prevent disease and even improve mood and reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
- Increasing sociability
Unless they’re gardening alone, children will have a far better chance of socialising with their peers and adults if they are doing a group activity (unlike, as we’ve mentioned, staring at screens). It can also be easier to get along with others when outside in a calming atmosphere, as opposed to inside a classroom.
- Appreciation of the environment
Anyone who grows their own flowers or veg can’t help but develop a love of the world we live in, the changing seasons, the different weather patterns and, of course, an awareness of climate change. Loving the outdoors is a great motivation for doing our bit to combat global warming.
So, we hope we have convinced you and your family to get outside and get gardening, and we hope youngsters enjoy the downloads. A very happy National Children’s Gardening Week! And, if you’d like to chat to us about children’s book illustration, you know where to find us – probably pottering in the garden!
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)