Gardening is an awesome way to engage children and inspire them to learn about the world around them. Children who garden will learn a number of things, including biology, nutrition and the environment. Teaching a child how to grow plants can give them a sense of awe that is both spiritual and magical. Gardening teaches children patients, caring and attentiveness. Scientists have also found that bacteria in the soil can interact with the body increasing the release of serotonin, a hormone in the brain that gives feelings of happiness and battles depression. Finally, gardening gets your child outdoors and away from the television, video game and computer. As you can see, encouraging your child to garden offers so many benefits.
You can encourage your child by giving them their own small garden area. Make sure this area is near where you work. In fact, it is often best to work side by side with your child. The area should be located in a sunny location and have good soil. If you would like to build a raised bed, add soil to an old sandbox. Another option is a flower box located out a window so you child can easily watch their plants grow throughout the growing season.
To help your child be successful in their gardening endeavors, arm them with real gardening tools rather than plastic toys. An inadequate gardening tool can lead to frustration in your child. To help build trust and allow you to teach them how to properly use and maintain gardening tools. Visit your local gardening center to find adequate gardening tools for your child.
To allow your child to participate in the growing process, start them out planting seeds. As the seed sprouts, your child will be in awe. Additionally, your child will be delighted when they contribute to their harvested foods to the dinner table. Bring your child into the kitchen when you are preparing a meal using the food they have grown for an added life lesson.
In the beginning, the plants will need to be watered every day. If the child is young, you may have to water the plants. If the child is older, you can show them how to properly water their plants. Keep the gardening project fun and enjoyable by allowing your child to develop their own interests.
Avoid using pesticides and manure in the child’s garden because they are more susceptible to chemicals. Instead, opt for an organic garden using compost. Remember that even organic compounds that you add to the soil or natural pesticides can be dangerous to your child so be careful adding anything to the soil or spraying anything on your plants.
There are many great plants that children can grow. Some great edible starter plants include lettuce, snow peas, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, radishes and carrots. Flowers that children can grow include nasturtiums, sunflowers and marigolds. Each of these flowers is edible. Strawberries are another tasty fruit that is easy to grow and delicious. Strawberries can be grown in the garden or planted in containers.
Gardening with your child is a great way to build memories and get your child outdoors. It will also offer you a number of teaching opportunities. As your children age, they will look back on this time with fond memories of spending time with you in the garden.