Some of my best memories of my childhood involve helping my mom plant flowers and planting rows of sweet corn (and having a mud fight in the patch after the rain) with my dad. I try to have my kids involved in my gardening efforts just as my parents did with me. They even have their own child-sized garden tools! Having your kids in the garden actually has some great benefits for them in addition to the heart-warming memories. I have invited Shary Cherry from sharycherry.com to tell you a little bit about the benefits of gardening with kids.
Many adults have fond memories of helping their parents in the garden as kids. I can recall back watching my grandpa plant gladiola bulbs as I scattered radish seeds. In today’s busy life, a garden seems like another added project, but with a small plot, it can offer a rich learning opportunity. Gardening with kids allows the little ones to gain in significant ways — with just the little extra push on your side.
From an emotional standpoint, kids learn to be patient and responsible while caring for tiny seeds as they grow into mature plants. Moreso, they discover self-satisfaction while raising something beautiful. In fact, the mere act of just digging and planting helps in physical development, strengthening both fine and gross motor skills. With spring onset, now it’s time to prepare for a sowing season, and it’s an ideal time to get kids excited about gardening. Here some of the amazing benefits of gardening with kids.
Why You Should Be Gardening With Kids
1) Engages All the Senses
Preschoolers learn the best while engaging all their senses. And with gardening, children can feel and touch the dirt, flowers, and seeds, see the varied sizes and vibrant colors of the flowers, hear the vegetable sound when cutting from the plant alongside smelling the amazing scents from flowers. Generally, allowing all kinds of senses to be part of, helps kids grasp and understand the concept of gardening, additional to all the scientific and math concepts that go in hand with it.
2) Enhances Fine Motor Growth
Scooping up dirt, placing of seeds in pots, pouring water, and using a garden hose all take fine motor strength and control. As kids garden, they develop essential motor skills which will help them to prosper in their academic skills, including writing, typing, and cutting.
3) Enhances the Ability to Organize and Plan
Those who garden often tend to understand that organizing and planning a garden can at times be time-consuming and somewhat an art form. For instance, preparing the front yard landscaping, knowing which flowers will bloom at what time of the year, the duration in which the seed will take to turn to a vegetable and when to get some fertilizers for the vegetable garden. Involving children in this process will foster their planning skills and how to solve problem swiftly. Also, it enhances their organizational strategies that can be carried over their facet of life!
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4) Introduces Children to Scientific Concepts
The art of gardening is a wonderful start into a world of science, especially Biology, Chemistry, and Botany. When kids scatter their first seeds, they become more curious on what might happen next. Also, the kids can make their hypothesis as they monitor the progress of plant each day. And without kids realizing, they’re learning the basic scientific steps. As the kids get older new things are introduced and learning takes on.. for example, the kids learn about the long-term effects of water and sunlight on the plant. More than that, they now learn which plants need sunlight and which need less water to grow well. Gardening offers an excellent science lesson just right at home!
You can even turn your garden into a homeschool science project! Create a separate area in your garden for your kids to experiment in. Let them plant seeds and use different types of compost, water amounts, etc on each one. Have them write (or tell) their hypothesis about how each seed with different advantages & disadvantages will grow.
5) Teaches Patience
When I started the gardening process along with my kids, they began to learn the importance of patience. Preschoolers are used on immediate gratification; and yet gardening is a pretty slow process. And through this, kids learn to be patient while waiting for their vegetables and flowers to grow. Actually, the waiting makes the moment of the vegetables and flowers sprouting even more exciting!
6) Fosters Family Bonding
According to a recent study, many kids love to garden with their moms. In fact, it’s often a spring tradition. This shows not only the bonding effect but parents and kids can work together in deciding what vegetables and flowers to plant and a place to plant. Families can then share the fruits of their labor by cooking together with the vegetables they had earlier grown.
You can help your child expand on what he or she will naturally learn from the outdoors. Help him to come up with a chart of his plants then teach him to predict the flower pattern on every week. Work on basic math, by measuring the plant’s growth together. Talk to him or her about the principle cause and effect as he/she waters the seeds to sprout later. As summer wears on, the life cycle of the plant unfolds magically as he/she watches, from digging the front yard or backyard to sowing seeds to harvesting veggies and flowers. Most importantly, gardening with kids can be a great way to bond collectively.
You can download this Garden Planting Log in the Member Resource Library to help your child keep track of their garden’s growth!
Are there other benefits that you have found to gardening with kids?
Shary Saunders is a blogger at sharycherry.com.
Gardening and landscaping have been her passion for years.
You can find Shary on Twitter at @SharySaunders.