Have you ever thought about the MANY benefits of gardening with your kids? There are so many reasons that it's a great spring/summer activity all while being educational! From helping your picky eater try new foods, to an exploration of the plant life cycle, and from simple to elaborate, check out just how much a date in the garden can benefit your kids!
1. Reverse Picky Eating
Do you have a picky eater at home? By starting food from scratch and cultivating a plant from a seedling, kids will take pride in what they've grown and will be more inclined to pick something and pop it in their mouths.
2. Teach Responsibility
Plants require a lot of care. A garden needs to be watered and weeded every day. Unlike keeping a room clean, or picking up toys, a garden grows as it is taken care of, just as it would not thrive if it was ignored. This gives kids a great deal of responsibility and pride in what they have cultivated.
3. Spend Quality Time Together
As parents, we get SO busy, and often don't get the opportunity to really spend time with our kids, asking questions and listening to answers and stories. By spending time together watering a garden, digging in the dirt or pulling weeds, you are creating prime opportunity for conversation.
4. Practice Hands-on Learning & Science
Sure you can tell your child about the life cycle of a plant, they can watch a show on tv, or read about it in a book. But in experiencing the process hands-on, they are creating the connections that really make lasting impressions. Additionally, they also learn about other creatures and ecosystems such as what a worm needs to survive, or the decomposition of plant and food matter to create compost.
5. Practice Patience
Gardening requires time and patience. There are no immediate rewards to planting a seed and waiting for it to come to fruition. (However, if patience is really hard to come by in your house, beans and peas are both really fast growing and great first plants for kids!)
6. Have a Sensory Experience
Talk about the ultimate sensory experience! The smell of a tomato plant, the feel of dirt between your fingers, the sight of a bright red pepper, the sound of running water, and the TASTE of something that your child grew themselves! That is quite a bit of learning and fun in one experience!
Now is the perfect time to get your garden started! If your kids like themes, try a pizza garden, a salsa garden, a flower garden or a fall garden. In addition to the beans and peas mentioned above, sunflowers and snapdragons are really fun flowers for kids to grow, and herbs such as mint and rosemary can be excellent for sensory purposes. Enjoy the process, and have fun with your kids!
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