There are many different benefits of gardening for children. Young children learn best with hands-on activities, so gardening allows them to learn about the world around them. Gardening may also have additional benefits for children, including an increase in self-understanding and the ability to work as part of a team.
Making Learning Fun
What kid doesn’t enjoy playing in the dirt and then watching plants grow? Even though gardening seems to be just plain fun, the child will learn about the world around them and how things work.
For example, through gardening, your child will learn that a plant needs sun, water and warm temperatures to grow. These basic science skills may translate into higher science skills later in their school career. As the child grows, you can introduce topics such as chemistry when talking about ways to rid a garden of pests and teach food safety through organic gardening.
Gardening forces one to develop patience. It takes time and effort to coax a seed from the ground and into a flowering plant or food-producing endeavor. Day after day the child will need to pull weeds, water plants, offer natural fertilizers and wait for that plant to first break through the ground and then grow and develop.
However, patiently waiting will also teach your child that with effort and hard work there are rewards. The first time that tomato plant bears fruit, your child will realize the result of his efforts to coax that plant to thrive.
Get Closer to Family
Gardening together can strengthen family bonds. Many families are looking for ways to spend more quality time together unplugged from television, smartphones and other electronics. Gardening provides the perfect escape from modern life. You can even learn together about different types of plants, which ones are the hardiest and which ones your family enjoys the most.
Children are more likely to eat vegetables they grow themselves. Research recipes using the veggies that you pick out of your garden and teach your child about the different nutrients the produce contains.
In addition to healthier eating, gardening is a light form of exercise that can get your little couch potatoes up and moving. Sixty-four percent of children play outside less than once a week. Gardening can help combat that.
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Learn New Things
Gardening can incorporate many different subjects and enhance learning. It may even encourage children to experiment with different solutions to gardening problems. Recently it was discovered that air compressors can be used for weeding. Blasting ground-up fruit pits onto weeds kills them without the use of heavy pesticides that might harm your family if ingested. Children are some of the world’s best investigators, so give them time in the garden where they can explore and develop the skills necessary to make their generation’s biggest discoveries.
Since crops tend to ripen all at one time, most garden plants produce more fruit and vegetables than a family can eat. This gives your family the opportunity to share the extra food with family, friends, neighbors or local food banks.
Teach your children to share their surplus, and it is a lesson that will stay with them throughout their lives. Gardening can also be a philanthropic pursuit. You may even want to participate in a community garden to further reinforce working as a team and giving away extra food.
Becoming More Responsible
Depending upon the age of your child, you can hand over some or all of the responsibilities of gardening to them. Although you want your child to develop a sense of accomplishment by successfully growing plants, it is also a good lesson to teach that if your child forgets their chore of watering those plants, they might wither and die. Nothing teaches responsibility faster than seeing the consequences of failing to complete necessary tasks.
There are many benefits to gardening with children, but probably one of the biggest is the memories you’ll build together. You may start a lifelong love of gardening for your child, or at least an appreciation for plants.