We have all heard that being outside in the fresh air has amazing health benefits. We have also heard that planting flowers can be therapeutic. But did you know that gardening has amazing developmental benefits for children?
Here are ten amazing reasons to get children gardening;
Engages All the Senses
Children learn best when engaging all their senses. With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt (the bit they enjoy the most), seeds and flowers, see the vibrant colors 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 children understand and grasp the concept of gardening along with all the math and scientific concepts that go along with it.
Encourages Healthy Eating
Eating healthy food is vital for brain and body development but it can be hard at times to get kids to eat those fruits and veggies. By having them grow their own string beans, carrots and lettuce, they will have a sense of pride in eating what they have “created.” This, in turn, will emphasize the importance of healthy eating. Children will soon learn to love eating strawberries, blueberries and even broccoli!
Enhances Fine Motor Development
Scooping up the dirt, placing the seeds in the pots and pouring the water all take fine motor control and strength. As children garden, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.
Gardening is a wonderful introduction into the world of science especially botany, biology and chemistry. When children 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 realizing it, children are learning the basic steps of the scientific process. 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!
Fosters Family Bonding
I have so many friends that love to garden with their parents. In fact, it is often a spring tradition that carries well into adulthood. This shows what a wonderful bonding effect gardening can have. Children and parents can work together to decide what flowers and vegetables to plant and where to plant them. Families can then work together to make meals using the vegetables they have grown.
Gardening is a great way to teach children about responsibility. They 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.
Highlights the Importance of Taking Care of the Environment
When children garden, they realize 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 to talk about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.
Develops Math Skills
There are so many teachable math moments when gardening from measuring the soil depth to counting the seeds. You can also embed math lessons into the gardening experience. For example, your child can measure the growth of the plant and then create a graph. They can also measure and compare the sizes of the vegetables as well the number of petals on the flowers. Another fun lesson is to identify all the different shapes that can be found in the garden.
As I begin the gardening process with my children, it has become abundantly clear how important it is to have patience. They are used to immediate gratification; however, gardening is often a slow process. They have to learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow. The waiting actually makes the moment the flower or vegetable sprouts even more exciting!
Enhances the Ability to Plan and Organize
For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organizing 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 children in this process helps increase their planning and problem solving skills. It also enhances their organizational strategies which can be carried over to every facet of life!
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