What Gardening Can Teach Kids

The following article is a guest post from a fellow blogger.  No compensation was received.

We live in a fast world, don’t we? Just venturing into a Walmart on a Friday at 5 p.m. is enough to stress
me out. Everything is so immediate anymore: fast food, instant credit, breaking news.

I’m lucky to be raising my son in a town of less than 1,000 people where the pace is a bit slower, but we aren’t immune to twitter feeds and smart phones out here. That alone isn’t enough. I want to teach him that there are things in life worth waiting for. One of those is our recent foray into pen pals.

Another is planting a garden. This is our 2nd year and we’ve had both success and failure. I find, at least for me, gardening has a huge learning curve and I try and involve my son in this process as much as possible.Gardening offers a ton of benefits in many different life areas. It is an awesome educational tool. Here’s a list of its lessons and below that are the ways children can be involved.

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Garden benefits and lessons

Science
How plants grow from seed to fruit or veggie
Pollinators and their place in the world
The relationship between soil, sun, water and plants

Health

Growing food without chemicals
Exercise
Consuming more fruits and vegetables
Getting outdoors
Encouraging picky eaters
Avoiding food allergies
Personal investment in and connection to the food you eat

Environment

Eating local
Alternative pesticides if necessary
Reuse through collection of rain water
Recycling through use of old milk jugs for rain water
Physical connection to the earth
Participating in a long-time human tradition

Life skills

Persistence and determination
Patience
Problem solving and creativity
Hope and faith – it’s an act of faith planting a garden
Setting a goal and following through
Saving money by growing your own
Researching gardening methods & alternatives

Family bonding

Quality time together
Contributing to the household
Generosity by giving your surplus to family and friends
Experimenting with different ways of cooking the produce

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Ways to involve young children

  • Planning – what to grow
  • Tilling soil
  • Digging holes
  • Planting seeds
  • Carry seeds/tools to and from garden
  • Watering
  • Pulling weeds
  • Applying organic pesticides (e.g. dish soap/cayenne solution)
  • Applying mulch
  • Collecting rain water in jugs
  • Putting in stakes or cages
  • Applying fertilizer
  • Harvesting
  • Cooking
  • Eating!

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Stephanie is mom to a spirited 7-year-old boy, self-employed with her husband and runs the blog, From the Burbs to the Boonies at http://www.burbstoboonies.blogspot.com about life in a small Kansas town, healthy habits, supplementing public school education, encouragement parenting, faith and getting families outdoors.

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