Ten Benefits of Gardening with Kids from Creativity for Kids
Gardening opens a wonderful world of science and wonder. Gardening encourages self-expression and curiosity in children.
Whether your gardening is as simple as planting seeds in a flower pot to planting a large outdoor garden, or in the middle like tending a terrarium, gardening has many benefits for the young child. Here are ten of them.
1. Gardening engages all of the senses. Squish your hands in the dirt. How does it feel? Let’s add some water. What does it look like now? How does that flower smell? We grew a vegetable... let’s eat it and see how it tastes! Hear that crunch when we bite into it? As you can see, it’s easy to incorporate sensory play into a gardening activity!
2. Gardening encourages healthy eating. Have a picky eater who turns their nose up at the sight of a vegetable? Try growing one from a seed. Your child will be so proud to have grown a food, they might become curious enough to taste-test the fruits of their labor. Encourage them to sample the vegetable straight off the vine or ask them to help you prepare it in the kitchen. It may become their new favorite!
3. Gardening enhances fine motor development. From picking up tiny seeds, to pulling weeds, and gently caring for your seedlings and plants, gardening encourages the development of fine motor skills every step of the way.
4. Gardening introduces kids to scientific concepts. What makes the leaves green? What do plants need to thrive? How much water does the plant need? Explore science together while gardening -- once again proving that learning can be fun.
5. Gardening fosters family bonding. Looking for a great family activity? Gardening is your answer! More hands make lighter work and although gardening can definitely be a lot of work, doing it together as a family makes it fun. Consider a “pizza garden” -- one that grows ingredients each member of the family loves on their pizza, such as tomatoes for sauce, onions for mom and dad, and green peppers for the kids. Harvest time equals pizza night!
6. Gardening teaches responsibility. Plants require a lot of care. Forgetting to water them could lead to the sad death of your plants. Not paying attention to whether your plant thrives in direct light or indirect light can also affect the health of your plant. Learning how to care for the plants properly is a great lesson in responsibility for kids.
7. Gardening helps learn to plan and organize. Some plants grow better at certain times of the year. Others do well next to another specific plant. Some grow nicely in rows, while others like wildflower seeds can be sprinkled around. Gardening is an opportunity to chat with your kids about how to best help your garden grow through planning and organization. Once planted, deciding who will care for the plants each day and when can be another opportunity to plan together.
8. Gardening creates environmental stewards. Once children see how much time and effort goes into gardening, they will likely become more empathetic towards those who help put food on our tables every day. Use this time to talk about the importance of local farmers and taking care of our planet by recycling and not littering.
9. Gardening develops math skills. How many seeds can you plant in each row? How many seedlings can fit in each garden box? How much water does each potted planter need? Math is a big part of gardening!
10. Gardening teaches patience. Growing from seed to producing plant can take weeks! There’s no better teacher of patience than gardening. But we promise, it’s always worth the wait!
I hope that you and your children start a garden together. This is a good way to enjoy the safety of your outdoor space during shelter in place.
Frank D. | Assistant Director and Lead Teacher