Guest Post: The Benefits of Gardening with Kids

>> Friday, July 6, 2012

Kids of all ages can enjoy gardening. Even toddlers can be helpers in the garden who dig holes, water seeds, and pick crops. Older children can get their own patch in the garden, choosing which plants they would like to grow and overseeing their care.

There are many benefits to gardening with kids, which can affect their health, development, intellectual growth, and even their relationships. Here are a few of the benefits that can come with gardening with your children:

Improved Health

One of the most obvious benefits of gardening with children is that it will foster a love of healthy eating. Children are more inclined to eat fruits and vegetables that they have grown themselves, and the more fruits and vegetables they eat, the more healthy they are likely to be.

Gardening also teaches children the importance of eating in season as they learn about the growth cycles of their favorite crops. Children also learn the importance of eating all-natural foods, as they see first-hand the treatment of foods that they will eat with chemicals (or with natural substances instead).

Environmental Awareness

Gardening also fosters a love of nature. Children enjoy getting in the dirt and learning about the plants, the trees, the bugs that live in the garden, and the birds and other animals who eat from the garden.

That love of nature fosters greater environmental awareness. Children who feel that connection with nature become adults who understand the impact that our actions can have on nature, such as the use of fossil fuels, or improper waste disposal, or the use of chemical products.

Character Building

No matter how big a role your children take in the garden, they can learn the patience required to grow something slowly over time, the responsibility it takes to care for something, and the discipline required to see a project through to completion. Children also develop self-confidence from the knowledge of being able to take on and accomplish goals.

These are all wonderful character traits for your children to learn, which will benefit them now and throughout life.

Sense of Teamwork and Community

When you work together with your children in a garden, you teach them the value of teamwork and community. This lesson can be strengthened by working in a community garden, where you share your space with others in your neighborhood or civic community.

Learning the value of teamwork can set your children up for success in school and work, and understanding the value of community can make them better citizens and neighbors.

Family Bonding

Gardening is a great way to share time together as a family. While you work, you have the opportunity to talk, to share your ideas, and to learn more about one another. You have the opportunity to strengthen your bond.

Children who share a strong bond with their family are more confident, happier, healthier, and better able to form close relationships with others as adults.

Gardening with children teaches them many important life lessons and has many benefits. It is character building and instills a love of healthy eating and the environment. It inspires a sense of community and encourages family bonding. There are many more benefits, including promotion of physical activity and stress relief.

Do you garden with your children? What benefits has it had for your family? Share your experiences in the comments!

Heather Green is a Christian mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice about nursing school resources and online medical assistant degrees.

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