How Gardening Helps Your Kids to be Better Individuals

gardening with your kids helps them develop well

Being a fervent gardener myself, I recognise that gardening for many people, started as an activity enjoyed with their parents from a young age. Consider how great a gift you would be handing over to your children, whatever their age, if you taught them the joys, satisfaction and achievements of gardening. Added to this, you’ll provide them the opportunity of healthy, progressive living. Gardening means that kids are more inclined to eat the healthy fruits of their own labour, to indulge in light outdoor activity without even realising it, get a head-start in science, experimentation and the habits of small animals, and eventually learn to cook the vegetables they’ve grown.

At the same time, they’ll be acquiring the skill of nurturing, patience and achievement of planned outcomes, based on time dedicated. Spending time with their siblings and parents to achieve something is also fun and very rewarding. You don’t have to have a massive garden for this to work, as potted plants on a veranda will do just fine if this is all you can spare. Gardening with kids fulfils a number of their needs for an all-rounded childhood. It’s also a perfect way to teach what being ‘green’ is all about by illustrating the practises of Reusing, Reducing and Recycling.

Help foster the relationship with your kids:

By doing something fun

Kids don’t care that gardening helps them develop the fine motor skills needed for writing. They need to see it as entertainment, so make sure they’re wearing plenty of sun cream and some old clothes, because part of the fun of gardening is being free to get dirty.
Add interest to the garden by letting your kids help make a scarecrow. In the theme of gardening ‘green,’ recycle old clothes for the body, and a pillowcase for the head. Pick out unused, sparkly buttons and even old shoes/Wellies for his feet. You can use leaves from your garden, old newspaper or rags to stuff him with. I’ve also allocated a place in the garden where my kids are allowed to dig up, because finding worms and bugs is half the fun.

By doing something worthy

Encourage wildlife in your garden. When temperatures drop, the population of indigenous birds goes with it. A bird can eat up to ten percent of its body weight trying to keep warm in the winter. We can teach our children from an early age – something we hope will stay with them throughout their lifetime – that the wildlife needs our help to survive. Let your children hunt around the garden to find fun places to leave fat balls or leftover food like potatoes, pastries, or bread. Birds will eat many types of berries so take your child to the garden centre and have him/her choose a shrub that provides winter berries for our feathered friends, and help to plant it in the garden at a place which is easily viewed from a favourite place inside the house. Bird watching can be a fun thing to do on a cold day indoors.

Also, leave your summer sunflower plants standing throughout the cold months, or provide
a feeder with other types of seeds and nuts. Don’t forget water. If you have a bird bath, your child could be in-charge of adding some warm water from the kettle every morning, if temperatures had been below freezing overnight. Bird baths provide not only drinking water, but a place for them to clean their wings to facilitate better flying. If you need more information on how you can teach your child to help birds survive the winter months, go to the RSPB’s (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - UK) website. If you’re going to keep a flourishing garden, you have to remember that Hedgehogs are very helpful in keeping the unwanted pests at bay. Help your child to build ‘shelters’ (piles of old wood) around the garden where the hedgehogs can live. These provide shelter and food (snails, worms and insects feed off the old wood, which provide the hedgehog with juicy munchies). Talk about how important different insects and animals are to our gardens.
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Danni September 10, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

Aww that sounds like fun. I remember I used to help my mom in the garden, it was always very enjoyable. :)

Anne Lyken-Garner September 10, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

Thanks for the visit, Danni. Many adults can still remember spending fun time in the garden as children. It's a gift we can return to our own kids.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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