Growing food is a powerful way to improve health, spend time outdoors, and enjoy learning about nature. And it’s accessible to all of us. So it should be no surprise that gardening benefits children, teens, and adults.
#1 – Gardening Gets Kids Out into Nature
Being outside in nature is healthy for children. It’s suitable for everyone, regardless of age. Being in nature brings fresh air, a connection with the great outdoors, and physical activity — all essential aspects of a healthy lifestyle. One way to get your kids away from television and computer screens and out in nature is to teach them how to garden.
Gardening gives children the opportunity to get their hands dirty and play around in the dirt, which is fun and relaxing. It’s also satisfying watching seeds grow into plants or flowers, especially when you’re responsible for the growth process yourself.
You can garden together as a family, and even divide a garden into plots, so each family member has their own plants to care for. And once you’ve harvested what you need from your garden, you can use your harvest in recipes together. Yum!
#2 – Gardening Teaches Kids Patience and Delayed Gratification
The benefits of gardening for kids are myriad. For starters, growing plants teaches patience and delayed gratification. Plants take time to grow, especially if you want good quality vegetables or flowers. The act of gardening isn’t something to rush. The activity requires patience and understanding that good things take time.
Gardening helps children learn about delayed gratification at an early age. They can then apply it to other areas of their life, such as studies and career growth. Developing patience with the creation process teaches children to also have patience with themselves as they encounter life’s challenges.
They discover they eventually will get results if they continue to work hard at what they care about most.
#3 – Encourages Innovation, Problem Solving, & Creative Thinking
Gardening is a great way to get kids thinking about how the world works. Every step of the gardening process encourages innovation and creative thinking, as they must find solutions to problems such as what to do with limited space and how to make plants grow.
The more time kids spend exploring nature and solving problems, the more they will develop their natural curiosity and problem-solving abilities.
Gardening also provides a way for kids to learn the basic principles of engineering and construction, as they build structures such as trellises and greenhouses for their plants to grow properly.
They will also face challenges, such as climate conditions or pests that threaten their crops. It’s important for kids to not only solve these issues on their own but also use science-based methods — research, experimentation, observation, etc. — when doing so.
Finally, gardening provides a great way for kids to learn about sustainability and science through ecology-based lessons on topics such as soil health, water conservation, biodiversity preservation, restoration, and recovery.
#4 – Gardening Teaches Kids the Origin of Food – Farm to Table
You might think that gardening with kids is teaching them about plants, but it’s also a way to start conversations on different topics. When you work together to create a garden, you can bring up matters such as where food comes from, how nutrients contribute to health, and why growing food is better for the environment than transporting it long distances.
After all, when children can grow their own food, they may be more likely to try it at the dinner table. Gardening can also be an opportunity to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating habits. Kids are more likely to eat vegetables that they help grow.
#5 – Gardening Relieves Stress
Gardening can help you and your kids reduce stress in various ways. First, physical work is a form of exercise and a break from screen time. Secondly, studies show that exposure to green living things (and even pictures of greenery) reduces anxiety.
Thirdly, the process of planting seeds and watering them as they grow, and then harvesting plants or flowers, can be likened to the process humans use in their own lives to achieve growth and success. Finally, when kids reap what they sow, they experience feelings of pride and accomplishment.
#6 – Giving Kids a Sense of Ownership & Responsibility
Gardening provides children with a sense of ownership and responsibility and a connection to the natural world. They can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in what they’re doing. Gardening also provides the opportunity to spend time together while sharing new experiences, memories, and learning opportunities. But most importantly, it’s fun!
If you have the right space (big or small) and access to plants, you can start your child on their gardening journey. Gardening offers parents a way to do something with their children. It’s an enjoyable way to spend time together while giving children the opportunity to learn useful skills.
You may even find that gardening brings you closer as a family by providing an opportunity to work toward shared goals.
While gardening has many benefits for adults, it also helps teach kids basic life skills, including patience and planning ahead, which are essential for success later in life. There are a few downsides to encouraging your child to pick up this hobby if they’re interested in doing so.
#7 – Gardening is a Form of Meditation
Gardening is a great way to teach kids about mindfulness and self-care because they can practice with their hands, their heart, and their mind. When they dig in the soil with their hands, they connect with nature and cultivate a sense of connection with the earth.
When they water plants or pull weeds, they are taking care of something else. And when they see their plants grow, even if it’s only by a few inches, it shows them that hard work pays off. Gardening is a sensory experience — there’s nothing like smelling freshly cut grass or seeing bright colors explode in your garden as you plant new seeds each year.
If you’re looking to have a brighter, more cheerful child and want to instill a deeper sense of connection with the Earth, there is no better place to start than with gardening for kids. It’s an activity that will provide years of benefits for you and your children and is something that they can share with friends and family.