Introducing our kids to gardening at a young age has many significant benefits for their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Teaching your child or children how to garden and encouraging them to get involved is fun, creative, exciting and educational. Below are just some of the many benefits of gardening, as well as some simple steps to get your child involved.
Tips for Getting Them Involved:
Fortunately, kids often jump at the opportunity to get outside, spend time around dirt, and explore their environment, so, encouraging them to garden with us can be quite easy. However, it is important when gardening to teach and communicate with our children in an engaging, safe and responsible way, and to supervise them closely. Here are a few tips to get them gardening with you:
Hands-on teaching: Show your child how to prepare the soil and create the right environment for a seed or seedling, including where to place the seed or plant, how much water to give them (and how much is too much), and where to position the plant for the best light.
Encourage independence: It’s important to supervise and help your child while gardening, but a great way to get them excited and involved is to allow them to pick their own personal space and their own seed or seedling. It could be an individual pot plant, a window garden, or their own spot in a garden bed. Allow them to spend a bit of time each day tending to their plant and watching as it grows – this experience is exciting for a child and gives them a sense of accomplishment and independence. A strawberry or sunflower seed/seedling is a good example.
Practise safety and hygiene: While being around dirt has been proven to be beneficial for a child’s immune system, it is also important to encourage handwashing after gardening to protect your child from potentially harmful bacteria. Encourage safety when gardening by monitoring your child closely, wearing gloves, avoiding harsh chemicals, and using safe, child-friendly gardening tools.
What are the Benefits?
Responsibility: Gardening teaches children some basic lessons about how to nurture and take care of something, including the effects and consequences of not taking care of it.
Gardening teaches children some basic lessons about how to nurture and take care of something, including the effects and consequences of not taking care of it.
Achievement: When a child learns how to grow and care for a plant, especially when they begin to see positive results, they feel like they have accomplished something. This boosts their confidence and increases their interest in the activity.
Education: Gardening with young children not only educates them on how to grow plants but also teaches them about where exactly their food comes from.
Discovery: An introduction to gardening at a young age sparks further interests in science and nature.
Creativity: Choosing what to grow where and discovering new and interesting ways to plant different seeds or seedlings also encourages creativity.
Physical wellbeing: Sunshine, fresh air, dirt and nature are all beneficial for a child’s emotional and physical health, and immune system.
At your local Early Learning Centre, we have sustainability programs in place including natural gardens where children can plant, water and care for lots of different plants and herbs.
For more information on how we support and teach children how to garden, contact us today!
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