There’s no question that gardening is good for the soul. It’s a peaceful and gratifying experience to tend to plants and watch them grow. But what many people don’t realize is that gardening can be extremely beneficial for children, as well.
Here are just a few of the things kids can learn from getting their hands dirty in the garden.
How Does Gardening with Young Children Help Their Development?
Gardening with young children has so many benefits that it’s hard to know where to start. But one of the most important things gardening does is help with child development.
Gardening helps with cognitive development, fine and gross motor skills, social and emotional development, and more!
Some of the specific ways gardening helps with child development are detailed in the next section.
11 Things Children Learn from Gardening
1. Gardening Teaches Children Where Food Comes From.
There’s no doubt that gardening can teach children about where food comes from. By growing their fruits and vegetables, children can see first-hand how foods are produced. And, not only will they learn about the process of food production, but they’ll also come to appreciate the taste of fresh, homegrown produce!
2. Gardening Gives Children a Sense of Responsibility.
In addition to teaching kids about food production, gardening can also instill a sense of responsibility in them. With proper care and attention, children can learn that plants need just as much love as any other living thing.
They’ll learn that plants can be hurt by the weather, grazing animals, or other people and must be protected.
They’ll also learn that their garden can be hurt if they don’t care for it regularly.
3. Gardening Gives Children a Chance to Be Outside and Enjoy Nature.
In today’s world, it’s all too easy for children to spend their days indoors, staring at screens. But when children garden, they have the opportunity to unplug and enjoy the great outdoors!
Not only will they get some much-needed fresh air, but they’ll also get to appreciate the beauty of nature.
4. Gardening Helps Children Learn About Science, the Life Cycle of Plants, and Helps Improve Their Memory.
Gardening is a great way for children to learn about science. They can learn about the life cycle of plants, photosynthesis, and much more!
And, not only will they learn about science, but they’ll also get to improve their memory. Gardening requires children to remember things like when to water their plants and what type of fertilizer to use.
5. Gardening Helps Children Understand the Importance of Taking Care of The Environment.
When children garden, they quickly learn that plants need sun, water, and nutrients to survive. They also learn that if they don’t take care of their garden, it will quickly die.
This understanding of the environment can carry over into other areas of their life and help them understand the importance of taking care of the planet.
6. Gardening Teaches Children Patience and Focus.
Gardening requires a lot of patience and focus. Children can’t just plant a seed and expect it to grow overnight. They need to be patient and wait for their plants to grow.
This patience will come in handy in other areas of their life, such as when they’re doing their homework, waiting in line at the store (and being nice to those around them), or working towards long-term career goals.
7. Gardening Helps Children Learn to Work as A Team.
If children are gardening with friends or family members, they’ll quickly learn that it takes teamwork to get the job done! They’ll need to cooperate and communicate with others to have a successful garden.
This teamwork will come in handy in other areas of their life, such as when they’re working on a school project or playing sports.
8. Gardening Teaches Children About Nutrition and The Importance of Eating Healthy Foods.
When children grow their fruits and vegetables, they’ll quickly learn about the importance of eating healthy foods. They’ll also learn about the nutritional value of different types of produce.
This knowledge can help them make healthier choices when it comes to food and encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables.
9. Gardening Helps Children Burn Off Energy and Stay Active.
Gardening is a great way for children to burn off energy and stay active. They’ll need to walk around their garden, bend down to weed, and maybe even lift some heavy bags of soil or fertilizer.
This physical activity is important for children’s health and can help them avoid obesity and other health problems.
10. Gardening Provides a Creative Outlet for Children.
Gardening is a great way for children to express their creativity. They can choose what type of plants they want to grow, where they want to plant them, and how they want to arrange their garden.
This creative outlet can be beneficial for children’s mental health and can help them reduce stress and anxiety.
11. Gardening Helps Children Relax and De-Stress.
Gardening is a great way for children to relax and de-stress. There’s something about being in nature and working with your hands that can be very calming and therapeutic.
This relaxation can help children sleep better at night, concentrate during the day, and feel happier overall.
How to Teach Kids Through Gardening
Now that we’ve gone over some of the benefits of gardening for children, you might be wondering how you can get started teaching your kids through gardening.
Here are a few tips:
1. Start with a small garden. Don’t try to grow too much at first. Just pick a few vegetables or flowers that you think your child will enjoy growing.
2. Get your child involved in the planning process. Let them help you choose what to grow, where to plant it, and how to care for it.
3. Make it fun! Gardening doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Let your child get dirty, have water fights, and make mud pies.
Which Plants Should Children Grow in The Garden?
There is no “wrong” answer when it comes to which plants children should grow in the garden. From a nutritional standpoint, growing leafy greens like spinach and kale is always a good idea, as they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes are also great choices, as they’re not only nutritious but also relatively easy to grow.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider your child’s interests when choosing plants for the garden. If they’re into bugs, they might enjoy growing a plant that attracts butterflies or ladybugs. If they love flowers, they might enjoy growing a sunflower or a rose. And if they’re into fruits and vegetables, they might enjoy growing tomatoes, peppers, or berries.
The bottom line is that the best plants for children to grow in the garden are the ones that they’ll be excited to care for and watch grow.
What Do Children Learn at Different Ages in The Garden?
The type of gardening activities that are appropriate for children will depend on their age and development level. Here are a few general guidelines:
For toddlers and preschoolers:
- Planting seeds in pots or the ground
- Watering plants with a watering can or hose
- Picking up leaves, sticks, and rocks
- Digging in the dirt
- Pulling weeds
For school-aged children:
- Planting seeds and seedlings/transplanting
- Watering plants
- Fertilizing plants
- Pruning plants
- Harvesting fruits and vegetables
- Simple cooking methods
- Planning and planting a garden
- Plant Lifecycle and Science
- Basic Farm Economics
- Cooking produce for large groups
- Selling Garden Produce and Starting a Business
Young Children Learn Fine Motor Skills from Gardening
One of the benefits of gardening for young children is that it helps them develop fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the ability to use small muscles in the hands and fingers to perform tasks like writing, cutting with scissors, and using a fork and spoon.
Gardening activities like digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and watering plants all require the use of small muscles in the hands and fingers, which helps children develop these important skills.
Older Children Learn Science from Gardening
Gardening is also a great way for older children to learn about science. They can learn about the plant lifecycle, photosynthesis, and the different parts of plants.
They can also experiment with different planting and watering methods to see what works best for different plants. And they can even learn about basic farm economics by selling produce from their garden.
Gardening is a great way for children to learn about science, nutrition, and where their food comes from. It’s also a great way for them to develop fine motor skills and learn how to care for plants. So get out there and get growing!