Due to stay-at-home orders and increased time at home, gardening is becoming a go-to activity for many families. Now that it’s officially spring and the weather is getting warmer, now is the time to think about what to grow this season in your home garden.
Gardening is a great activity to do as a family. It gets kids involved in learning about where their food comes from, but there are so many other benefits! Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider getting out in the garden with your kids.
Children Experience All Five Senses
For the same reason kids love to sift sand through their hands and make mud pies, the soil provides a tactile experience, good for supporting their natural curiosity and fine motor skills. Gardening allows children to smell, taste and touch fresh food and learn about the process, from worms wiggling in the dirt to watching a strawberry form on the vine.
Gardening Encourages Healthy Meals
Food tastes better when you’ve prepared it yourself. For children, being a part of the process — from planting to the dinner table — is a lesson you may not be able to get anywhere else. It’s their creation, and therefore, it has to be good, right? Kids are more likely to try vegetables they grew and more likely to want to be a part of the cooking experience. All of these improve their fine motor skills, engage their senses and teach them about the benefits of taking care of their bodies.
Children Learn in a Fun Environment
Questions are sure to arise regarding why the plants need sun and water, or why it’s important to water every day. The process of planting a garden inspires lessons about responsibility, caring for something living, planning ahead and that hard work pays off.
Children Learn About the Environment
Not only can kids learn math and science through gardening, they can also learn about caring for their planet Earth. Learning about the time and effort put forth to get fresh food to the table can allow for conversations about the importance of farmers, and other things besides gardening that we can all do to care for our land.
Gardening Builds Patience
It’s a hard lesson to learn when you’re waiting for Christmas to come or counting the days to the special party you can’t wait to attend. Gardening is also one more way to teach kids about patience. Gardening takes time. Caring for the garden week after week and watching progress as seeds grow and budding plants become vegetables to pick, wash and prepare is a great way for kids to learn the importance of waiting for the good stuff.
Plant a small garden at home or participate in the community garden in your area. Some plots grow so much produce, owners donate a good portion to food pantries — one more lesson and experience for the entire family!