The experience of tending a garden and bringing food to fruition can have lasting effects upon the way in which a child develops. Gardening is educational and develops new skills including:
1 Responsibility – caring for plants
2 Self-confidence – achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown
3 Reasoning and discovery – learning about the science of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition and simple construction
4 Physical activity – doing something fun and productive
5 Cooperation – including shared play activity and teamwork
Gardening Instils Healthy Habits
Gardening is a very healthy occupation, and gardening for your own food is a great way to connect with and gain a greater understanding of what you eat. Getting into healthy habits when young means that your kids are far more likely to develop an effortlessly healthy lifestyle as they get older.
Gardening Teaches A Lot
On a fairly basic level, gardening teaches some more fundamental lessons. Responsibility, for example, is learned rather swiftly when a plant dies of neglect, while a sense of self-efficacy and confidence is learned when a carefully nurtured plant thrives and bears produce. Older children can safely explore avenues of independence in the garden as they begin to cultivate and develop their own patches and/or containers. And all children can benefit from the fantastic mix of artistic creativity, scientific application, and hands-on practicality which gardening involves. It’s an activity which exercises and develops many portions of the brain and personality at once – fantastic for helping children to grow into well-rounded individuals!
Gardening Develops A Love Of Nature
A love of nature may not seem like something a kid particularly needs these days. However, research is increasingly showing that a love of nature can actually be incredibly beneficial for everyone, particularly children, and that an inability to connect with nature can lead to serious problems. Studies carried out with children suffering from ADHD have found that their symptoms alleviate considerably once they begin to regularly play or simply be in ‘green space’. Similarly, scientists and psychologists are increasingly drawing link between time spent outdoors and reduced risk of depression, stress, and other anxiety disorders, as well as greater general health and lowered obesity risk. Getting your child to love nature through gardening could, therefore, bring with it an incredible payload of health benefits, as well as giving them a wonderfully fulfilling interest which will sustain them for the rest of their lives.
A child who loves gardening and growing their own food is therefore hitting the ground running when it comes to developing a health adult lifestyle! Of course, this only works if the child is introduced to gardening in such a way that they enjoy it. Some suggestions to get children involved and interested in creating a garden include:
1 Give children their own garden space - start with a large container or a few pots
2 Use lightweight, easy-to-handle, correct-sized tools and garden equipment
3 Encourage children to dig in the dirt
4 Plant flowers that attract butterflies, ladybirds and other interesting insects or birds
5 Visit community gardens, children’s farms or botanic gardens for ideas
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