Kids and Gardening: Reasons and Benefits of Letting Your Kids Help You Garden
Our youngest was so excited a couple days ago. As soon as he got on the school bus, he texted his dad that said, “Our teacher gave us all a cabbage plant and the person that has the biggest one at the beginning of next school year wins a $1,000 scholarship!” Yes, guys. My 9 year old has a cell phone. And I am not ashamed of it. But that’s for another blog post.
He knows what a scholarship is but at his age I don’t think it has that big of an impact on him just yet. He was more excited about planting his cabbage plant. So when he got home, we headed into the store to grab a few supplies. I need some things for my tomato plants anyway.
The great thing about his cabbage plant was that it was growing in one of those biodegradable pots. Therefore we were able to plant the pot and all. I like those ones better because it makes it easier and there is less waste. It’s also a great way to teach kids about waste and how biodegradable things work.
Planting his Cabbage Plant
If you have never grown cabbage before, you need to have at least three feet around all sides of the plant. At least that was suggested anyway. Our soil isn’t the greatest so every time we plant something, we pack potting soil around them first before we put our wonderful soil around them. We have a better turn out that way.
We live out in the country and often have a lot of creatures that come around. We built some protection around his cabbage. He loved working on this too. We got some bamboo poles and garden netting to put around it. That way it will keep unwanted creatures away from it. Or at least deter them. We aren’t completely finished yet though. We looked up some other plants/flowers that are helpful to cabbage plants. So we are going to get some this weekend and planting them in his own little garden. Nasturtium and Mint helps keep certain pests away from cabbage. He’s excited to plant some more this weekend!
His Own Project
The other reason he is excited about it is that this is his own gardening project. My kids have always loved helping in the garden but this is his. We even made sure the front of his garden netting can be opened in the front so he can go in and check on his plant once a week. He even has a sheet with a weekly checklist.
So what are some reasons and benefits of getting kids involved with gardening? I am glad you asked. I have a list of them below! Of course the number one reason is that it is just…fun!
They have a chance to get dirty
My boys love playing in dirt anyway. They build tracks and ramps in the dirt for their cars all the time. So this gives them another reason to dig in the dirt. Great for sensory too.
They get outside
I have never really had a problem with my kids going outside to play but others may have a difficult time. My own kids have tablets, chromebooks, phones and video games but they also love playing outside. I think I might have gotten lucky on that front. But gardening is another thing they can enjoy to do outside.
Gardening can encourage healthy eating
I have noticed that when it comes to my kids, they are more likely to eat veggies when they had a hand in growing them themselves. It also gives you as a parent to talk to them about healthy eating and makes it more fun too.
Gardening teaches life lessons and how things grow
They learn how to grow food, teaches them about soil and how seed and sprouts grow. It also teaches them responsibility when it comes to caring for plants and patience while waiting for them to grow and also confidence as well after they see how their garden has grown. Because they did it! Gardening can also help develop fine motor skills as well.
It may also give them a connection to nature
We often take family hiking trips and explore nature. We have always made sure we instilled nature into their lives. Gardening can give them another side of nature. Taking care of it, why we need to take care of it, and what happens when we do take care of it.
It can create more family time
When we work on gardening as a family, it gives us something we can all do together. Not only is it a fun thing to do, it’s also about teamwork. Learning to work with your family. And it’s also a great time for parents and kids to catch up with each other. How school or work is going. How everyone’s day went, etc.
Kids should also garden because….
It’s a useful skill and it’s something they won’t just forget. It’s educational in many different ways, plus they also get outside and get some exercise. It may not seem like a lot of exercise but you definitely get some exercise while gardening whether you realize it or not. Gardening also gives them a chance to learn to solve problems. Even the most experienced gardeners can run into issues. It gives them a chance to solve these issues, do some research if needed, etc.
My boys are really into farming and agriculture (even though we aren’t farmers). They are fascinated with it therefore any chance I can get them involved with gardening whether it be veggies or flowers, I do.
Even though my first reason was because it’s fun, my last reason will be because it’s fun too!