The Benefits of Gardening for Kids
Gardening is an activity for all generations. People of all ages can enjoy growing and cultivating plants, especially children, who have fun digging in the soil and getting dirty. Additionally, gardening can also be very valuable for little ones. We have listed below the benefits of gardening for kids.
Gardening improves kids’ health and wellbeing
Kids spend a huge amount of time indoors at school or home. It is thus important to encourage them to go out on a regular basis, both during summers and other seasons. Gardening is an activity that can motivate them to leave their screens and get some fresh air. Although it might sound simple, fresh air is very beneficial for them. It indeed cleans the lungs and eliminates dust and impurities accumulated because of pollution.
Furthermore, kids produce an adequate amount of vitamin D when they are exposed to sunlight, even for a short while. Since it helps children absorb calcium, vitamin D is necessary for their bone growth and development.
In addition to making kids spend time outside, gardening is also a physical activity that helps them stay healthy. In fact, by bending over to pull out weeds, squatting to dig holes for seedlings, and simply moving around, children tend to become more active, reducing the risk of child obesity.
Finally, carrying gardening tools, water, and soil stimulates their locomotor skills and body management. They learn how to control objects and how to manipulate them in order to work effectively.
Planting and cultivating stimulate children’s senses
One of the first senses to get stimulated by gardening is touch. Water, soil, plant leaves, and seeds all have different textures that kids can discover through gardening.
Moreover, vision is also involved in taking care of plants and flowers, since children are surrounded by different colors, tones, and shades. So, gardening is a good way to teach them color names as well.
Of course, smell is very much stimulated by this outdoor activity too. The scent of flowers, plants, and fresh soil are recognizable and can be appreciated at an early age, especially since it helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Lastly, let’s not forget that flowers and plants, when edible, are interesting for developing children’s taste. Indeed, parents can specifically select edible plants and flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs to grow in their garden. Kids can thereby discover new ingredients and tastes. Moreover, children become more than willing to try new food when they are involved in growing and cooking it. So, both gardening and cooking with kids can expand their food choices.
Gardening for kids to learn vocabulary
Gardening is an enriching experience for kids. For instance, it is a good way for kids to learn new words and try things they have never done before. Names of plants and flowers can easily be taught to them, just like the general lexical field of gardening and the names of the tools they use.
During the gardening sessions, parents can also read out the requirements mentioned on seed and plant packages along with their children – an interesting approach for setting the right example, teaching kids responsibility, and helping them develop self-confidence.
Kids’ cognitive development is boosted by gardening
When parents spend time gardening with kids, they support their intellectual skill development. How? First, by asking them what steps they took the last time they gardened. Children then describe what they did and start incorporating the vocabulary they learned in their explanations.
Second, parents can encourage kids to guess what to do next. Not only does this appeal to their memory, but it also leads them to organize and plan ahead.
Third, parents can guide children and analyze together with them what they do in order to predict the outcomes.
Children discover cooperation while gardening
Finally, gardening can also teach children cooperation. Doing this outdoor activity with friends or family members can help them grow interpersonal skills. It can be interesting to include kids in the decision-making process, and let them take the lead in deciding who will do what. This way, they can understand everyone’s role and see the importance of collaboration in achieving a common goal.