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Azvanna
28 Aug 2015, 03:23
I bought a house!

One of the first projects I want to begin is to landscape the backyard and include a sensory garden for my son. I have found this website : http://growing-minds.org/early-introductions-to-sensory-gardens-infants-and-toddlers/ that has heaps of ideas on what to include, but I'd like to see some photographic examples of a finished garden so I can picture a design.

There are three established trees down the back which I will need to incorporate. I think to start with I could easily include herbs and vegies but more expensive items like a water feature or sealed pathing will have to wait.

Has anyone got any photos of their sensory garden or know of any?

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P.S. I live in a tropical climate.

thalassa
28 Aug 2015, 04:47
I'd say your best bet is going to a local nursery, or contacting a local botanical garden or university's community extention program (if they have those there--here its common for universitites to have agricultural extension offices that work with communities and community members in farming and urban gardening), as ask them what native plants that grow in your area (or non-natives that are unlikely to be invasives) are 1) child safe and 2) especially colorful, smelly, interestingly textured to appeal to a small child, and 3) which of those plants will grow in the microclimate of your yard. Also, maybe looking at school garden projects and botanical gardens with childrens gardens. There are also some really cool things you can do with recycled art--windchimes, zylephone, light catchers, little fountains, rocks, etc...the best places to look for these extras are probably playground projects rather than gardens. Another resource you might not have thought of is autism, ADHD, and sensory process disorder sites and blogs... I'll see what I can dig up!

Honestly, I just took my kids foraging...so I can't help you specifically with a garden. But my kids could identify about a dozen edible "weeds" by the time they were 3-4. Chickadee knows most native trees by genus, and a couple of the more common species within those species...along with the common shell types and species that make them to beaches here, several kinds of local fish and shellfish, and about two or three dozen useful local plants and their uses...just from going on weekend hikes.


ETA: I think a water feature (like a pool) is bad idea anyhow...anything other than a fountain (or something like this (http://greenlivinghacks.com/make-this-pvc-sprinkler-water-toy-for-under-10/)which could be done easily, cheaply, and (with different materials and some paint, mroe prettily) is a drowining hazard and a breeding area for mosquitos. With that being said, you can easily do a small wetland garden with a kids swimming pool (as a random project, I grew my own rice paddy in one as a kid one summer). Also, forget a sealed path, go for something like a creeping thyme or other plant that is meant to be walked on and smells good when it is!!

I don't have pictures, but here's something we did @ the UU church our family goes to: Sunflower fort (http://letslassothemoon.com/2011/08/28/sunflower-house/)

Also, when I have a yard, the hubby is making me one of these: Earth loom (http://www.livingcrafts.com/blog/weaving/an-earth-loom-in-the-garden)--there are DIY plans available on the net for free.

xylephone: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/shropshire/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8150000/8150526.stm

this is actually a sensory garden for a dog, but I can't think of any kid that wouldn't want their own tunnel...http://www.yourdog.co.uk/Dog-Health-and-Care/can-i-create-a-sensory-garden-for-my-dog.html



ETA2: One of the big problems with gardens like this can be if they aren't providing active playspace, they aren't going to do what you want it to do. You need stuff like a digging pit, and/or a sandbox, stepping stones or rocks or blocks that they can manipulate and move around and look under (this is one of the reasons why, IMO, there's no point to a sealed path).

Some other ideas--

Kid sized nest (http://tadmontgomery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Twig-Nest.jpg)
Clay pot fountain (http://www.homedepot.com/c/how_to_make_a_terra_cotta_pot_fountain_HT_PG_OD)
runner bean wigwam
music wall (http://prekandksharing.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/make-music-wall.html)

B. de Corbin
28 Aug 2015, 05:07
Congrats on the house!

I don't have any real suggestions, except that mint is a good plant choice (keep roots contained - spreads like lice, and hard to eradicate when it does. The "lawn" in my yard is largely mint. Smells nice when I mow).

anunitu
28 Aug 2015, 05:10
B. De. when ever you mention Mushrooms I see the NPC in Chrono cross who is obsessed with mushrooms that turns into a giant mushroom guy...That is all...

B. de Corbin
28 Aug 2015, 05:14
B. De. when ever you mention Mushrooms I see the NPC in Chrono cross who is obsessed with mushrooms that turns into a giant mushroom guy...That is all...

I don't know that game... But I've seen a few very cheesy movies where that happened...

Gleb
28 Aug 2015, 06:16
Congratulations on the house, Az! :)
As for the garden - I think you should find something suitable to the kid's character. For instance, if he's active then you probably will do something that will consume his energy throughout the day.
If he likes music - something connected with music. And so on. :)

Prickly Pear
28 Aug 2015, 17:40
I was looking at all of Thalassa's ideas. Wow.

I think I would plan for age development. Childhood seems like forever when you are a kid, but from a parent's perspective they change rapidly. For a two year-old I would start with something musical, something climb-ey, and a hardy fragrant plant to identify and smell. Then I would slowly add a water feature with low drowning risk, something that they can dig or grow, a fort of some kind, a textured or simple obstacle path, and maybe art projects that they can help build or make. Congratulations on the house!

Azvanna
29 Aug 2015, 03:13
Thalassa wow thank you again for your wonderful ideas.

The Garden Loom looks very, very special.




The "lawn" in my yard is largely mint. Smells nice when I mow).
I was hoping my husband would share some of the yard work, but I think it will be mostly myself taking care of it. So there's an incentive!


As for the garden - I think you should find something suitable to the kid's character. For instance, if he's active then you probably will do something that will consume his energy throughout the day.
If he likes music - something connected with music. And so on. :)
He is SO active. lol. I think most little ones are and I won't know for sure until later if he's going to settle down. He listens very well to the sounds around him and mimics my mother-in-law's cuckoo clock. I will put some wind chimes in there and a shallow fountain of some kind to stimulate his sense of hearing.



I think I would plan for age development. Childhood seems like forever when you are a kid, but from a parent's perspective they change rapidly. For a two year-old I would start with something musical, something climb-ey, and a hardy fragrant plant to identify and smell. Then I would slowly add a water feature with low drowning risk, something that they can dig or grow, a fort of some kind, a textured or simple obstacle path, and maybe art projects that they can help build or make. Congratulations on the house!
I had the exact same thought of age development not long after I made this post. I like your plan of taking it steady. Sometimes I feel like I have to have everything done right away, but in this case I think you're right.. it may be better to pace the developments.

Thank you all for the congrats.

Gleb
29 Aug 2015, 03:27
Then maybe you should find something that includes music/sound and will use his energy. Perhaps there is something like this in your area:

http://sfile.f-static.com/image/users/138373/ftp/my_files/%D7%A4%D7%90%D7%A0%D7%9C%20%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%A4%D7%9 9%D7%9D-1.jpg

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Or something similar..

Azvanna
29 Aug 2015, 03:48
Ah wow!! How awesome!!!!!

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Stuff like this makes me miss my home town, Toowoomba. There is a musical section in a kid's park there. It's not as noisy as you first think. The sounds have mellow tones and are quite pleasant to listen to even though they jumble all up.

Gleb
29 Aug 2015, 03:51
You can always go for the "make it yourself" method if you can't buy it. ;)

Azvanna
29 Aug 2015, 03:54
You can always go for the "make it yourself" method if you can't buy it. ;)

I will be doing that as much as I can! I'll be working just 3 days a week by the end of next year for the next five years or so. So I think I can find time to make stuff :D

Näre
29 Aug 2015, 08:52
How about some kind of a walking labyrinth (https://www.google.fi/search?q=walking+labyrinth&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMIrYLH6d7OxwIVYvFyCh1KagB6&biw=1440&bih=772), kids' style? You could use it as well, if you are into meditation. :)

thalassa
29 Aug 2015, 10:03
I would put a digging pit in first...it will probably get the most use for the longest, unless he doesn't like to get dirty. Same with a sprinkler.

Azvanna
09 Sep 2015, 14:21
How about some kind of a walking labyrinth (https://www.google.fi/search?q=walking+labyrinth&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMIrYLH6d7OxwIVYvFyCh1KagB6&biw=1440&bih=772), kids' style? You could use it as well, if you are into meditation. :)

I listened to a whole podcast about Labrynths! I had always thought of a labrynth as a puzzle to be solved like in the movie. The podcast explained that the walking labrynths are garden maze-like walks where you will always get to the centre. I think they look really nice in big open spaces.


I would put a digging pit in first...it will probably get the most use for the longest, unless he doesn't like to get dirty. Same with a sprinkler.

A sandpit is on the cards for sure. He doesn't mind getting dirty ^.^ He uses little rocks to dig in the garden. I will have to get him a little shovel.

Water play is a high priority for us this summer. We won't have air-conditioning and I'll be 5 months pregnant by then. I think we'll be spending a few of the hotter days at the in-law's house.