By Julie Clancy from Belgian Nursery
Gardening can benefit children in many aspects of their lives. Every child should have a chance to get a little dirty and have fun – all while learning! Gardens provide children with so many teachable moments: the life cycle of various plants; the importance of worms and certain insects; how people can help or harm plant growth; where our food comes from; learning patience as they wait for vegetables to grow; how to work together for the best harvest, and so much more! Not to mention the enjoyable time spent outdoors.
Let them pick out their own plants. I always have a section of our garden that is just for my boys to choose and plant their own vegetables. They also get their own planter pot to fill with flowers. Make it a life lesson and set them up with the responsibility of removing dead flowers, weeding, harvesting and, of course, eating right off the plants. I send my boys out to harvest fresh herbs while I’m cooking, so I get fresh herbs and they learn plant identification – though occasionally they eat their harvests instead of bringing them to me. And if you have a picky eater, you may be surprised at what they’ll be willing to eat when they grow it themselves. Healthier choices may even end up on their plates.
Watching a seed grow into a plant is one of the miracles of life. Children who garden learn to appreciate the hard work and care that goes into growing healthy plants. They learn about the necessities of life: water, sunlight, dirt, and care. A garden can be a great location for experimenting with plants, creating hours of exploring fun.
Easy vegetables to grow with children are peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, beets, kale, lettuce, strawberries, and pumpkins. Some edible flowers are always fun; try violas and nasturtiums.
Image credit: Thinkstock/PA.
Enjoy some quality family time while gardening with the kids. This is a great time for families to bond, giving siblings a chance to learn how to work together, parents to make up for lost time from busy week days, and even extended family members can connect by coming over and pulling weeds. Gardens can have a calming effect on the whole family, allowing everyone to connect with nature and create a relaxing, beautiful space to enjoy.
Enjoy the simple things in life! Create a healthy hobby