Do you grow vegetables or herbs? Do you garden with your children?
Our children benefit from gardening with us. An expanding body of research shows that when children participate in growing fruit and vegetables, from seed to plate, they are more likely to eat more variety. They're also more likely to try new foods when they have helped to grow them.
Kids learn best when engaging all their senses. With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds and flowers, see the vibrant colours and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it is taken from the plant and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening along with all the maths and scientific concepts that go along with it.
As kids get older, they learn about the impact of sunlight and water on the growth of a plant. They learn which plants need more sunlight, which need less water and how long they take to grow. Gardening offers wonderful science lessons right at home!
Gardening is a wonderful introduction into the world of science especially botany, biology and chemistry. When kids plant their first seeds they become curious about what will happen next. They make their own hypothesis and monitor the progress each day. Without even realising it, kids are learning the basic steps of the scientific process.
It is a great lesson in patience for children. We live in an age of instant gratification. Our children are very rarely made to wait for anything, to their detriment. It is exciting (and a little confusing at first for younger children) to watch seeds sprout. The progress from seedling to harvest is a gratifying test of a child's patience.
Gardening is a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Kids learn that they have to take care of their seeds each day in order for them to become healthy plants. To help, you can make a checklist that kids can use to make sure they care for their plant every day.
When kids garden, they realise how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.
For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organising a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You have to know what flowers bloom during what time of year, how long it takes a seed to actually turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds. Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem solving skills. It also enhances their organisational strategies which can be carried over to every facet of life!