I love including my boys in planting our garden. The benefits of gardening with kids are many, and I can’t say enough about this timeless activity. There have actually been studies that show the advantages that gardening and digging in the dirt can provide. In addition to the time spent with your kids in the garden, they can learn many things that may stay with them throughout their life. Here are 12 reasons that you should start gardening with kids and the benefits you both will enjoy.
1. It’s Fun
Playing in the dirt is fun and children love anything to do with this activity. Practically every child has made mud pies at one time or another. In addition to the fun aspect, planting a garden is an outdoor activity that gets the kids off the video games and from in front of the television. Enjoying the fresh air and sunshine is definitely healthier.
2. It Creates A Sense Of Wonder
The wonder of watching a seed sprout into a plant that will produce food is fascinating for children, especially small ones. They can start seeds in egg cartons or small pots before planting them in the garden. They will learn about responsibility by making sure the seeds are watered regularly so they can sprout so they will be ready for planting when it is time.
3. It’s Scientific
Different types of learning can be a result of gardening with kids. Although they will not realize it, they will be acquiring knowledge about the life cycle of plants. A science lesson that includes how their interaction with plants will produce a certain outcome. This will be a learning experience that they will remember when they are grown.
4. It Builds Self Esteem
Gardening can provide a boost in self-esteem and confidence for your kids. They will be proud of their accomplishments, particularly when the plant matures and they get to harvest the fruits of their labor. My kids love seeing vegetables and fruits developing on the vine.
5. It Develops All The Senses
Exploring the senses can be part of the experience for kids in the garden. This is a good time for younger children to learn about taste, touch, smell, sound, and more. They will learn by touching the plants, tasting them, smelling them, seeing the different colors of vegetables or flowers and even the sounds in a garden can be a great experience for kids.
6. It Teaches The Life Cycle
A garden can provide another type of learning experience. The basics of life – water, air, sunlight, and dirt – can be compared to what people need to live and thrive. This is a good time for parents to discuss healthy choices with kids as well.
7. They Get To Enjoy The Fruits Of Their Labor
Plant a garden with your children that includes fun plants such as pumpkins, corn, or strawberries. This is much more interesting than potatoes because they grow above the ground and they can watch them develop. Additionally, growing a pumpkin will be even more fun because when the time comes they can help to carve a jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin they actually grew. You can make some delicious Crockpot Apple Butter or fresh Bacon Chicken Corn Chowder!
8. They Learn The Source Of Food
Gardening with kids will help them to understand where the food they eat comes from rather than thinking that everything is bought at a store. Let them help plan what will be planted. This is a great time to also teach Biblical lessons, and how God can provide for our needs.
9. It Promotes Healthy Eating
Children who learn how to grow fruits and vegetables often eat healthier. They will want to sample the things they are growing and they may learn to like foods that they would not eat in the past. Often they will eat raw vegetables, for example, carrots, pea pods, and cherry tomatoes, even when they will not eat them cooked.
10. It Develops Patience
Patience is another lesson that will be learned by children when they plant a garden. They will better understand that they have to wait for seeds to sprout and plants to mature before they can enjoy the fruits and vegetables they have planted. Children tend to be impatient when they are waiting for something, but they will realize that it takes time for the plants to grow and the rewards are worth the wait. They will learn to appreciate the work involved in food preparation.
11. You Get Quality Time With Your Kids
In addition to all of these benefits, quality time that is spent with your kids in the garden will be an experience that will be remembered even when your children are grown and gone. You may learn some interesting things about your kids that you might not have known. We talk as we work, and my kids will tell me all kinds of things as we have time in the great outdoors.
12. It’s A Great Form of Exercise
They will be exercising without realizing what they are doing. By bending, walking, digging, carrying, and planting they will be getting far more exercise than they would by sitting in front of the computer, television, or video games. This is also a good activity to help with the inevitable “I’m bored” that is generally heard every summer within a couple of weeks of the end of school.
I hope you will have fun including your young ones in this amazing activity. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of room, just a small box garden can be enough to reap all the benefits of gardening with kids!