7 Things Gardening Teaches Kids
Planting seeds and helping them grow seems like a simple activity, but it teaches children a range of valuable life skills that will last a lifetime…
When I was a young child, I spent most of the summer following my dad around in the garden. I helped him turn the soil, plant seeds, water the plants and tend to our compost heap. But my favorite part was eating yummy fruits and veggies straight from the garden!
These days, my three daughters follow my husband around his gardens and help him grow food. It warms my heart because I know that they’re not only creating lasting memories, but they’re learning important life skills too.
During COVID-19, gardening is a fantastic way to help children connect with nature. Even if you only have a balcony or a windowsill, you can grow herbs and small vegetables in pots. Your little ones will look forward to watering their seedlings and watching them grow. What a fantastic isolation project!
What gardening teaches kids
Here are seven things children learn from gardening…
Gardening takes a lot of time and care. Young children quickly learn that they need to be responsible and patient if they want their precious seeds to grow into food. They need to water and fertilize them regularly, make sure they get enough sun, and patiently wait for them to mature from seedling to plant.
Have you ever watched a child joyously crunch into the very first cucumber they grew on their own? The self-esteem boost they get from reaching their goals and enjoying their food is priceless.
Several studies have also shown that gardening has positive effects on both adults’ and children’s health, including improved mood, decreased anxiety and better quality of life.
Physical activity and development
Gardening can be hard work, but kids don’t notice they’re breaking a sweat because they’re too busy having fun! Not only do they reap the benefits of all that physical activity, but they get fresh air and sunshine too.
Tending to a garden has several developmental benefits as well. It enhances both gross motor skills (digging in the soil, lifting a watering can and pulling weeds) and fine motor skills (handling and planting seeds) and it engages all the senses (feeling dirt, looking at different colors, smelling flowers, hearing birds and tasting food).
Does your child refuse to eat their vegetables? Get them to grow their own and watch their attitude change! My kids love to munch on tomatoes, edamame, snow peas and herbs straight from the garden.
You can reinforce their newfound passion by explaining how fruits and vegetables make their muscles strong and give them the energy they need to run and play all day. If they want to be strong like Popeye, they have to eat their spinach!
A love of nature and our planet
Not only does spending time outdoors digging in the soil foster a love of nature that lasts a lifetime, it teaches children a sense of responsibility for the environment.
My children have learned that growing our own food reduces the amount of toxic chemicals in our waterways and our bodies. They understand that composting decreases the harmful emissions we produce. They understand the vital role that bees play in helping our food to grow. They know that every small step we take to grow food and minimize the food waste we generate helps to save our beautiful planet.
Science and math skills
There’s no better way to learn than through fun real-life experiences and gardening certainly ticks all those boxes. Young children learn basic math skills when they count the number of seeds they have and measure how much their plants have grown each week.
They also explore scientific concepts when they ask questions like: Why do plants need sun to grow? Why are their leaves green? How come dead plants break down and turn back into soil? This type of hands-on learning is more valuable than anything they can learn in a textbook.
The importance of family time
Gardening encourages every family member to step away from their screens and commitments, relax and focus on a common goal. It’s a great way to increase family bonding and connection.
If your kids aren’t enthusiastic about gardening from the get-go, there are a few simple things you can do to engage them. Involve older kids in designing the layout of the garden, give each child their own small garden space, buy children’s tools that are easy for them to handle, make a scarecrow together or install a birdbath.
You can even create a themed garden together. Try a “rainbow garden” where you plant flowers in every color of the rainbow. Another fun theme is a “pizza garden” where you plant all the ingredients you need to make pizza (tomatoes, peppers, onions and basil) and have a family pizza night when they’re ready.
With a range of cognitive, physical and emotional benefits for children and adults alike, gardening is a fantastic activity for the whole family. The family that grows together stays together!
Grow Your own Garden
Exclusively available at The Tot, the My First Garden by Gardenuity has been designed to introduce the joys of growing to little ones. My First Garden comes with everything you need to plant, grow, and harvest fresh vegetables and herbs wherever you live. Each garden is customized by where you are growing and what you are planting, and includes fully rooted starter plants that are shipped from our farm partner right to you, making the gardening experience simple, enjoyable, and quick. The My First Garden Kit comes with a seasonal Grow Pro membership that will engage children in the benefits of gardening and the fresh flavors that come with seasonal harvests.
- Suitable for use on a patio, balcony, sidewalk or backyard
- Easy to assemble
- Fully rooted starter plants are sent directly from the farm
- Growbag will prevent overwatering
- Age recommendation: 3 years +
- Finished weight: 25 lbs
- Dimensions: 13.5” h x 17” w
- 4-6 well-rooted plant collection
- 5-6 gallons of planting media (2 large coir tiles)
- Customized Foundation – compost
- Reusable growing container for next season’s crops – monogrammed Grow Bag “My First Garden”
- Soil Primer
- Triple Blend Plant Food
- Customized Plant Nutrients
- Spray Bottle
- 30 Day Plant Feeding
- Grow Pro membership with garden reminders and weather alerts
- Exact proportions of everything you need for your container garden and nothing you don’t
- Two full-sized garden tools crafted of ash wood and stainless steel
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