Maybe you already garden or perhaps you are like me and really wanted try but were not blessed with a green thumb. Last year was my first ever garden. We finally had the space for it and the kids were old enough to help. It was even successful and produced many fruits and veggies for my family. I tend to be cautious and ease into things. My husband is really great at just diving right in and figuring it out as he goes. Therefore, our garden was about 40 foot by 20 foot. Watch for a blog or vlog for a tour of our garden!
It may not occur to a lot of people but, if we don’t teach our children where food really comes from they will think it comes from the grocery store. For example, about 3 years ago I took my kids to a “u-pick” berry farm. My kids were happy to pick the berries until the boxes were filled to the brim. We got home, rinsed and cut the berries. My daughter says, “Oh, my goodness mommy! They taste like real strawberries! They taste just like the ones from the store!”….. See the issue? Of course, a 6 year old saying that is adorable and creates a great teaching moment. To me, it’s important for my children to understand their food sources and options in a world of ever growing processed foods. It matters for their health, support of our farms, forever learning, and self-reliance.
Here it is a small list of the Benefits of Gardening with Kids! Add your comments at the bottom.
- Understanding of where food comes from
- I’ve already mentioned this above but, it’s very important to grasp this concept at a young age. If we forget to teach this to our kids it will be as foreign as the corded phone to them. When we begin to think of our food source it creates curiosity and causes us to dig deeper. As an adult, if they have missed this step in food, they rely on major corporations to keep them healthy. In a sense, they are giving up a piece of control over their own health.
- Endless chances to learn (pests, harvest time, how to plant, why they grow)
- Gardening is all about trouble shooting with some science thrown in there. You’ve got your basics. You need dirt, seeds, water and sun. Not every seed is planted the same or even at the same time. They don’t grow at the same rate and certainly are not ready to harvest at the same time. There are many variables that will leave you guessing and searching the internet (yes I know, I have reliance issues with the internet, haha). The garden provides chances for math skills, science, reading, and even history! It’s like peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, a complete protein!
- Passing along a skill so they can be self-reliant
- Gardening wasn’t a thing in my childhood. I know a lot about camping, a little about landscaping, and nothing about growing things. Do your children a favor and learn with them! You’ve got a couple of options for this, marry a person like my husband who just jumps in or use the internet. I swear I could have obtained my college degree from YouTube (only sorta kidding). There are many more ways to go about this but, the point is, expose your children to gardening so they have some sort of familiarity with it.
- Teaches them patience and dedication
- Just picture those proud little faces when they pull their first carrot from the ground or snip their first bean from the plant! Think about it, you plant these tiny seeds and water the dirt. Little by little you see your seedlings sprout and grow into plants that eventually bear fruits or vegetables. It doesn’t stop there. Each day you check on them to see if they are ready to harvest and check the soil to see if you need to water. This is an excellent lesson in patience! When they finally get to harvest there work, it pays off and they learn dedication. A word to the wise, cross your fingers that something big is ready to harvest first. You should have seen my family trying to split a small strawberry 5 ways…
- Too bad this wasn't our first harvest! 50lbs
- Encourages them to try new foods
- I’m not sure what it is but, if it comes out of the garden, the kids will at least try it! Maybe because it’s almost like eating dirty except mom approves.
- Food Preservation
- Take your garden a step further and teach them the basics about food preservation. I wish we would have done this last year. The disappoint hit my dinner table when the taste of grocery bought cucumbers arose. Not the best way to start the winter… This year we’re going to try food preservation and I promise to share our experience!
- Teach them to cook
- Ah, cooking. It just seems right. Teaching your children to cook with their bounty brings the whole experience full circle.
I hope you enjoyed my list! Gardening is fun. It can be a wonderful adventure to partake in with your kids each year. When you’re planning your garden for the next year, be sure to take their input. Share your seed catalog with them and let them get just as excited as you!