Parenting

Why gardening is important for children

Gardening is mostly seen as an activity that brings us homemade produce and an attractive backyard. It’s not far off from the truth, but there’s a lot more to it when you dig below the surface. It’s an especially important activity for those who have children, as the garden is the perfect learning environment for their kids. Gardening can be a very helpful tool in a child’s development, and here’s why.

It helps engage all of their senses

There are different kinds of learning phases that we go through in life. It’s not always sitting down at a desk and reading a book. When you’re a child, a lot of your learning is intuitive and interactive. You try to get a feel for the world around you with your senses and try to grasp some simple concepts. This is the way children learn things initially, which is why they should be exposed to new and interesting stimuli to interact with.

Gardening is a great example of a fantastic environment that provides a wealth of sights, sounds, smells, and feels. For the average gardener, it’s just a regular Tuesday. But for a child, it can be a very interesting experience that stimulates their senses. The vibrant and diverse colours of the plants in a garden are nice to look at and they’re a novelty for a child that probably doesn’t get around much on their own. What are plants famous for if not for their scents as well. The part of the brain that processes scent is deeply connected with our emotional development and memory. This is why scents are so important for children, and why we so vividly recall them when we grow up.

In this outdoor environment, a child can learn some basic concepts through experiencing the joys of gardening. There are many core math and biology concepts that come with gardening, even though you might not be aware of them. The child will start to take note of how plants change over time and how weather affects them. At the same time, the act of gardening will help them figure out things like the logistics of watering and how to make it more efficient. These are all things that are common sense to any adult and gardener, but children need to experience them in the right environment to learn.

It makes healthy eating a cornerstone of their diet

Children aren’t exactly known for their good taste when it comes to food. What sweets and delectable foods they can get their hands on, they’ll like. Everything else seems like a boogeyman that isn’t very palatable. As they get older, their tastes change and they start to accept different kinds of food on a regular basis. However, this isn’t something that they intuitively know to do. It depends a great deal on how they were exposed to healthy foodstuffs as they were growing up. Because of this, it’s crucial that you inject a little extra positive influence in the form of gardening. It’s one of the more effective ways to get them closer to healthy food and how it’s prepared.

When kids get a plate full of vegetables, they can hardly appreciate the work that goes into them. It’s just a foreign bit of food that they might not even be willing to try. On the other hand, getting them up close and personal with growing produce will show them that it’s just a part of their natural environment. This will make vegetables and fruits more palatable and it will help kids appreciate them a lot more.

This kind of familiarity will better allow them to make healthier and more diverse food choices in the future. With a bit of luck, they’ll make it their routine to include the types of food they’re familiar with in their diet. It’s a great way to make sure they’ll have a healthier and more diverse palate in the future.

It enhances fine motor development

Gardening is a task that requires quite a bit of manual work. Between keeping the plants hydrated and moving dirt left and right, you’re using a lot of your energy. Especially if you want to get it done quickly and efficiently. However, you’re not just doing hard labor in your garden, you’re also pruning, replanting flowers, gathering, and making other adjustments. All of these things require fine motor control, something that children need to develop.

Kids aren’t very good with their hands to start with. It’s not that they lack the skills to make precise movements, it’s just that they need to develop their fine motor skills. This is something that requires practice and learning.

This is where gardening comes in. When children partake in garden activities, they’re getting all the practice they need for their motor skills. Things, like scooping up dirt and using it to bury seeds, will help them get better control of their fingers and hands. Carrying a watering can and watering plants will add a tiny bit of wrist strength. When combined with the countless other tasks gardeners have to complete, it’s a recipe for proper fine motor development.

It fosters family bonding

There are very few activities that feel as special as gardening. It’s a hobby that provides you with both pleasure and attractive results. You take care of your plants and make sure they end up growing and blossoming throughout the year. It’s something worth sharing with others, and that’s why gardening is such a wonderful social activity.

Kids are rarely going to be out in the garden doing things on their own. Instead, parents and grandparents will use this opportunity to show kids the ropes when it comes to gardening tasks. It’s an educational activity which also makes room for some bonding as well. Kids learn fast, and it’s fun seeing how they quickly advance from not knowing how to water plants to helping you move them and pruning leaves.

Children also love spending time outside, especially when they’re given a new and unique challenge to complete. This makes it easier for gardening to become an activity that they associate with fun. As they’ll always be accompanied by a family member, there’s also going to be a lot of bonding involved. It can become a tradition for parents and children to take care of their garden and then enjoy the results.

It introduces them to tools

What sets humans apart from contemporary species is our intelligence and use of tools. The ability to teach our offspring how to use these tools guarantees that they will be able to teach others and keep spreading the knowledge indefinitely. Gardening with tools isn’t an absolute requirement, but it’s monumentally easier when you apply them.

Sometimes, it’s hard to introduce kids to the concept of using tools. They tend to be stubborn and want to do things their own way. If they assist their parents with gardening, they will instinctually start by using their hands to help out. Tools seem like an unnecessary part of the equation. However, as time goes by, they will realize that the way their parents do it is a bit more efficient. When you can transport lots of dirt using a wheelbarrow, it becomes apparent that it’s easier than a bucket or using your own two hands alone.

Parents that want to teach their kids how to garden well will want to get lots of tools into the mix. It’s difficult enough for grown adults to handle gardening with minimal tools, but small children will find it even harder. With the help of a couple of basic tools from places like Hoselink, a child can get a grip on the essentials of gardening and progress to more advanced tools to get even better results. This will further help them as they grow and welcome tools to help them overcome challenges in other aspects of their lives.

It teaches responsibility

Parents always strive to teach their children responsibility. It’s one of the hardest lessons in parenting and it requires quite a bit of patience on the parents’ side. The good news is that activities like gardening can help them provide a lesson through practical learning.

When you introduce a child to gardening, you’re also introducing them to various responsibilities that they might not have been previously aware of. The plants in the garden didn’t sprout up on their own. It takes effort which is demonstrated when you plant seeds and start watering and taking care of them. Those plants that do sprout up on their own are considered weeds and must be removed so that they don’t sap the resources of other plants. When they aren’t removed, this is noticeably reflected on the surrounding plants. A child will take note of this, but parents should provide further explanation for why it happens.

If the child wants to see certain plants growing in the garden, they need to put in some long-term effort into making it happen. If they don’t do this, the plant will simply fizzle away. It’s a powerful lesson that can stick with them for years to come.

It teaches kids patience

Patience is a concept that is basically alien to children. When they want something, whether it’s a toy, game, or birthday party, they want it now. The idea of waiting is too abstract for them to grasp. This is perfectly understandable, as they don’t have the experience to tell them that things are worth waiting for. Gardening can be a good opportunity to give them an example of how patience can truly be a virtue.

As any gardener will tell you, creating the perfect garden oasis takes a while. You have to look for seeds, plant them, water and fertilize the plant, and then wait for it to grow to the desired size. Depending on the plant, this could take between weeks and years. With time and the help of a green thumb, the plant turns out exactly as you planned. This happens within a span of time that seems ridiculously long for a child, but the results are very quickly noticeable.

When you introduce a child to gardening, you’re showing them that a bit of dirt can turn into a wonderful flowering bush when it’s taken care of properly. The weeks and months of working around the garden and waiting for plants to sprout go by pretty quickly when you can see the garden changing before your eyes. The point of gardening becomes pretty apparent when your child can see the vegetables grow before they end up on their plate. It’s going to make waiting for Christmas or their birthday feels a lot more manageable.

Conclusion

There’s no better activity to introduce to your child than gardening. Its potential for learning and development is massive, which is why so many parents are slowly bringing their kids closer to this green activity.

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