With all the criticism of children being too attached to their technology, gardening offers the perfect way to get some fresh air. No matter what size your garden is, it’s easy to get youngsters involved with growing and planting.
Schools are increasingly recognising the possibilities that gardening holds for children; here’s a closer look at just a few of the advantages.
It isn’t always easy to persuade children to eat fresh fruit and vegetables but growing your own is a powerful incentive. It’s possible to grow all kinds of delicious produce in your garden, even if you only have a small area, and children will be far more inclined to eat something they’ve grown themselves.
Choose fruit and veg such as lettuce, carrots, string beans, broccoli, strawberries and raspberries – if you’re feeling adventurous you could even get the children to help you cook!
As children grow up, it can be difficult to find activities which interest them that involve the whole family. Gardening is a great way for parents, children and siblings to spend time together.
From organising the planting to cultivating, and even the harvesting of vegetables, gardening is the perfect family activity. Many children enjoy doing this year after year with their parents, even as they reach adulthood.
A garden doesn’t just appear by magic so children can really benefit from the planning stage, giving them the opportunity to learn how to organise.
There is lots to consider when creating a garden, such as the germination time of seeds, the time of year that flowers will bloom and how long vegetables will take to grow. Children will enjoy discovering how to plan a garden, and watching it blossom step by tiny step as the season progresses.
Fine motor skills are something children need to develop to be able to complete more delicate and fiddly tasks, and gardening provides great practice.
Planting seeds, moving soil around and pouring water are just some of the gardening tasks which require precision, control and strength. In time, these can help with more general fine motor activities such as cutting, writing and typing.
Gardening is the perfect fusion of so many new concepts, offering insights into the science involved in botany, chemistry and biology. Learning how a seed germinates, the effect of sunlight and water, plus watching how their plant grows all form the basis of a great science lesson!
By learning in this more natural way, children learn to develop a natural curiosity which will help them in their pursuit of knowledge as they mature.
It’s useful for children to have a sense of responsibility and gardening can provide the ideal introduction to this. Making sure the plant is watered and well cared for develops useful skills which can be transferred to other areas of their life.
It’s also a practical way to introduce environmental awareness too. Teaching children as young as possible that they have a responsibility to look after the planet and its resources helps to nurture a caring attitude as they grow up.
Gardening isn’t just an activity for grown-ups, with the right supervision and planned activities it’s possible to get children involved from a very young age. This doesn’t only provide fresh air and exercise, but a whole host of other benefits too.