Children seem glued to screens these days, all the way from an early age, and it doesn’t mean that they should not enjoy the benefits of physical activities throughout their early hood.
On the contrary, show them a ball or challenge them to climb up a tree or upkeep a simple fairy garden, and you’ll see how your son or daughter drops everything else and goes for the quest in no time, as long as you’re together.
Bringing the family together is a priceless benefit of gardening with children.
On that note, you can combine the useful with pleasure and teach them new skills and concepts in the midst of all the fun. The perfect way to achieve this is, of course, by encouraging them to explore plant life and learn about gardening from an early age.
Combined with gorgeous welly boots, young kids’ intrinsic inquisitive nature and appetite for adventure can be easily harnessed when it comes to revealing the magical world of gardening to them. We all know that it’s a rewarding pastime for adults, which, however, can be also beyond beneficial to young minds.
So, read on and find out how you can help children apply their natural enthusiasm and ability to acquire new competencies fast, outside in the garden.
Why Is The Benefit To Involve Children In Gardening?
Both youngsters and preschoolers can benefit immensely from being outdoors in the fresh air, while at the same time use their creative side, learn about plants, insects and nature, in general, as well as apply some muscle and thus strengthen their bodies.
Furthermore, children’s immune system naturally gets a boost when they regularly spend time out in the blue, exposed to Mother Nature. More than 1600 genes are involved in innate and adaptive immune responses and it’ is the early age when rapid development happens.
As long as they are suitably dressed for the weather and say, put a waterproof jacket on and a pair of wellies, there’s nothing to stop you from getting them out even on a rainy day.
The Benefits of Teaching Gardening to Children:
How does gardening help a child's development you might ask. Let’s sum up the many pros of introducing gardening to kids:
All the above advantages of getting kids to love gardening are just some of the prerequisites for a child to grow into a confident, healthy and knowledgeable adult, who can produce their own food, if needs be, who relates to others, respects Nature and why not even find their vocation in life this way.
How To Introduce Kids To Gardening
According to the Fantastic professionals in gardening and maintenance services from London, there are a few sure ways of teaching gardening activities to your kids. Consider their age, their capabilities, hesitate no longer and just go for it.
The 6 Fantastic Easy-to-do Gardening Ideas For Children
- A good way of instilling basic gardening expertise is teaching children how to weed. Kids love getting their hands (and clothes) dirty, so what better opportunity to do this than making a flower bed looking nice and neat! The youngsters will learn how to discern plants from unwanted vegetation along the way, that’s for sure, too.
- Watering is another easy task that can turn into play on a hot summer’s day, once the job’s been done. Just imagine the giggles your kids will get when one of them gets hold of the garden hose and showers the rest.
- Sprouting seeds indoors will show children how the magic, called life, begins. Teach them how to bury a few beans in a dish with slightly moist cotton wool that should be kept in the dark. Then, once the seeds have sprouted in a couple of days, plant them together in the garden or in pots.
- It takes children time to appreciate seasoned food. So, here’s an idea. Start up a small herbal garden in a few containers with your kids and you’ll soon hear them begging you to add the fresh-picked parsley to their favourite soup.
- Ask your young son to be the one “holding-the-other-end”, when you install a bird netting over the strawberry patch or if you need help clearing the lawn of fallen leaves. Have a chat with him why the job needs doing.
- Do backyard camping. Make sure to check our checklist (for cats and dogs too) and add to-do.
Having dedicated greenhouses for different types of plants can be an amazing summer experience of any child.
What Skills Can Be Learned From Gardening
New activities teach us new skills and gardening is no exception. On that note, however, apart from obtaining narrow and rather specific gardening and plant knowledge, very young children can also acquire or improve heaps of other general skills that they’ll use throughout their life, such as starting a fire from wet wood to name one.
- Patience. Growing, flowering and ripening doesn’t happen overnight. It all takes time.
- A sense of duty. When one starts something, it’s better if they finished it. Kids need to learn about responsibility from an early age, i.e. keeping the garden pest free.
- Work ethics. Working hard always pays off. Or following (dad’s) instructions will help a kid become better at what they’re doing.
- Team skills. Completing projects with others requires communication skills, empathy, and diplomacy.
- Dexterity. Even toddlers can benefit from playing a gardener, as they’ll improve their motor skills while performing basic tasks.
- Affinity for science. You can get your young child to an elementary level of Maths, Physics, and Biology in no time in the garden.
- Initiative. Encouraging youngsters to make choices, consider risks or make decisions is the first step towards bringing up a kid who knows how to take the initiative.
- Imagination. Gardening also requires imagination. It’s simple as that.
- Spirit. The crucial skills can learn from hiking is what you need for wilderness survival.
“Tricks” To Engage The Hesitant Young Gardener
And finally, if you find that your kids would rather stare at the TV than come outside and help you in the garden, be imaginative or try some of the tips below:
Start simple and entice kids with a follow-up reward of doing something that they actually love. So, they’ll probably be more enthusiastic about helping you collect the fallen apples if this means that they’ll be making an apple pie with mum afterwards.
Turn a gardening job into a game or fun time. Let your young schooler sit with you on the ride-on lawn mower while cutting the grass. Ask your child to count as fast as they can all the garden flowers in bloom or simply try some inspirational BBQ party ideas, so you can all brag before the guests. The further bring together healthy plant care and social joy, a well-equipped wooden bbq gazebo could become the top hangout spot in any backyard.
Most children love to be the “boss” (of mum and dad), so you can pass on the idea of them choosing what and where to create in the garden - with your help, of course. Be it making a bird feeder or planting a Christmas tree, the kid’s sense of initiative will soon be boosted by follow-up activities, related to their own project.
Get your kid the funkiest wellies that you can get and they’ll be more than keen to try them out outdoors in rain or shine.
So, what do you learn from gardening?
When into gardening from an early age you or your toddler will learn what healthy and sustainable living is. It will not only help the child’s development of a wide range of skills but form constructive habits and even eco-friendly hobbies, like beekeeping, seed collecting and even cooking.
Gardening for children helps their cognitive development, meaning steady practice in various physical and intellectual activities. Among the best pieces of advice is to constantly ask open-ended questions day after day and leaving those unanswered as homework.
You only have to make sure that you and the young one or few have the necessary grounds as well as time, of course.
Now you know that gardening with kids can be fun, rewarding and beneficial for their development. And keep in mind that any process is as important as its results.
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.