I remember getting into the garden with my mother and my grandmothers, all of whom were avid nature lovers and produce growers. Their joy in being in the dirt was contagious and I learned lessons about nature, botany, food, hard work, math, planning, caregiving and much more. These life lessons have continued to bring me joy throughout adulthood. Giving children the gift of gardening while they are young helps develop an appreciation for the food they eat and the world in which they live. It can also form healthy habits and generate a sense of self sufficiency, which will simplify other paths in their lives. Plus, they get out in fresh air and get some exercise, burning off the often overwhelming energy most children display.
Engaging children in gardening has numerous benefits but is also an opportunity for family fun. Kids see what mom and dad do and want to mimic them. With this in mind, giving children their own tools to use in the garden (similar to your own) helps encourage them to participate. Kits, like the ROCA Home Kids Gardening Set, give children the tools with which to participate and grow. There is also a set for mom and dad – the ROCA Home Gardening Set. The kid’s kit has a cute little carrying bag, a flat bottomed hand shovel, a small spade perfect for tiny hands and a gardening fork. The tools are plastic but look just like the grownup’s steel set. It also includes an informative little book called the “bug guide.” Children can add their own items to the bag too, as there are several extra pockets. The interior of the bag is roomy enough for their favorite doll or stuffed animal to accompany them as they help in the garden.
Kids shadow their adult caregivers every move. As they develop and learn, their hopes and dreams are fed by such activities. Showing children positive examples of behavior while making the whole affair fun and engaging is a perfect way to teach them about life and their place in it. Simply watching a seed grow is an awe-inspiring process that will stimulate the brain and help connect food and nature. Studies show that children who garden also score higher in science and math. But that’s not all”¦gardening with children may benefit their little bodies in more ways than one.
Children who grow food are more likely to choose an apple over a bag of chips. They are also exposed to beneficial microorganisms that may strengthen the immune system and overall health. Extreme hygiene has been linked to higher incidences of allergies and asthma. Getting a little dirty gives the immune system something to really sink its teeth into, enhancing its ability to fight bad germs.
Fresh air and sunshine, dirty little hands and chimes of laughter all equate to a happy, healthy child. When you garden with your children, you are giving them memories and skills that will translate into a holistic learning experience. While you are at it, you get to spend quality time with your little one, building a precious bond and sharing a joyful family activity.