Some of my favorite childhood memories involve digging into the earthy ground with my mom and telling our plants to “grow well” as we gave them a drink of water and patted the soil down. My sisters and I would wait anxiously to see the product of our labor and harvest our fresh summer strawberries, eating them straight off the plant with the warm, sticky juice dripping down our chins.
These moments, still so vivid years later go to show the importance of planting seeds and cultivating growth in a child’s development. Gardening is a multi-generational activity and is something that will help deepen the bond between you and your kids and teach them essential lessons about patience, dedication, and the importance of plants and the eco-system. Here are a few other reasons you should garden with your kids.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to have an acre of land for your kids to get their hands in the soil. A simple container garden on a patio, a few pots on an apartment balcony, or a community garden are all great ways to introduce your youngsters to the joys of growing their own plants.
Encourages them to get outdoors
In this technology-driven world of TV, movies, and video games, it can often feel like pulling teeth to drag your children away from the screen for a little fresh air. However, gardening gives them a reason to spend time soaking up the sun and basking in the scents of nature. Children are naturally curious and will soon be looking forward to checking on the growth of the plants under their care.
Lets them get their hands dirty
Rather than fearing the dirt, it is time to embrace it! Usually, kids love nothing more than digging their hands into moist soil and pulling out weeds or planting seeds. This helps expose them to beneficial microbes that build up their immune systems and protect them from various diseases.
Reverses picky eating
It is probably safe to say that you have at least one picky eater in your house. If this picky eater detests fruits and vegetables, gardening can be a great way to reverse their dislike and begin instilling healthy dietary habits. There’s just something so appealing about growing your own vegetables that will make your kids eager to try food they wouldn’t normally like if it just showed up on their plates.
Try planting fun fruits and veggies such as strawberries, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes.
Plants won’t thrive without attention. This is a great way to instill patterns of responsibility into your kids and teach them the importance of looking after something. A garden must be watered and tended every day, and this kind of long term care can help your children develop commitment and cause them to take pride in their actions.
Solidifies the importance of healthy living
Gardening with your kids is a great way to open a conversation about healthy living and caring for the environment. Weeding, mulching, watering, and planting are all excellent sources of moderate physical activity while the food you grow together will become intriguing and rewarding.
Fun ways to garden with your kids
- Start a butterfly garden together: Plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. They will love to sit and watch all the colorful insects that stop by. This will also give you a practical way of teaching your little ones about the importance of pollinators in the garden.
- Let your children pick some plants: It is a great idea to include your kids in the plant selection process as they will feel more connected to what they are growing.
- Grow sensory plants: Since kids are extremely sensory, they love plants that taste, smell, and feel good. Try growing plants that appeal to the senses like herbs, lambs ear, marigolds, grasses, succulents, sunflowers, carrots, and strawberries.
- Give them their own space: Even a tiny section in the garden or a few pots will let your kids feel that they have their own garden and will help encourage them to make a personal investment.
Do you know of any other great ways to include kids in the garden? Let us know in the comments below!