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Why You Should Try Gardening with your Children this Spring

Why You Should Try Gardening with your Children this Spring

The weather is getting nice with as much consistency as the Ozarks can ever provide. The kids have been cooped up in the house, and they need to get out—for your sake as well as theirs! There is no shortage of fun things to do with your little one, but one of my personal favorite spring/summer activities to do with my child is gardening.

Gardening is a great way to get your kids outdoors, having fun while learning invaluable life lessons. It’s educational, promotes physical and mental health, it’s a wonderful bonding opportunity, it connects them with nature, and it teaches them important skills like patience, perseverance and dedication. I’ll dive into more detail about each of these benefits.


Gardening is Educational for All Ages

If you want your kid to be more involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) then gardening is one great way! There are so many scientific concepts that can be introduced through gardening. Botany (Plant Science) is all about learning the conditions required for a plant to grow. What nutrients are needed in the soil? How much sun does the plant need? How much water does the plant need? There are so many more things to consider as well.

This is also a great way to introduce concepts like photosynthesis to your youngster. What’s even better is that the complexity of the science lesson can be adjusted depending on the age of your child. For younger kids, simply understanding plants need nutritious soil, water and sunlight is probably enough. For older kids, soil composition, pH of the soil, loam of the soil and ways to amend the soil can make it more complex. I personally like the article from Gardening Know-How for further reading about the science of gardening for kids.


Exercise & Time Spent Outdoors

Trying to get your kid to cut back on screen time? I get it. I’m guilty of sometimes giving my kid a screen too often, too. Gardening can help here, as well. Moving dirt around, pulling up weeds, planting plants can all make for great exercise. Bottom line: Gardening gets you moving—which is nearly always a good thing. The same goes for your kid. There are numerous benefits to keeping your kids active such as maintaining a healthy weight, building strong bones and muscles, better heart and brain health, and more! Check out this article for more details about all the benefits.



Gardening is the Perfect Bonding Opportunity

Are you looking for a way to spend more quality time with your child? Again, gardening can help. My 5-year-old and I love to go out in the garden in the evenings, pull a few weeds and see how the plants have grown. It doesn’t take long, but it’s usually quality time. I probably don’t need to elaborate on all the reasons why this is important, but here are a few good reasons:

Bonding increases emotional security. Your children need a safe place to express their emotions. So often they may not be able to or feel comfortable enough to.

Bonding time increases trust and honesty between Dad and child. When it feels like you are listening and understanding problems, they may have they are more likely to share.

I’m sure dads already see the benefits in quality time with your child but here is another good article explaining these benefits in more detail.


Laying the Groundwork for Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits

It’s easy to see how your gardening efforts can translate to the dinner table. If you want your kid to eat healthier, it’s gardening again for the win. I remember trying to get my son to try some kale I bought at the grocery store in a salad. His response was less than enthusiastic, to say the least. However, when we went to our local plant store and I told him we could plant and grow something called dinosaur kale, his entire outlook changed (mostly because it had dinosaur in the name).

After we took the time to take the plant home, prepared the garden, planted the kale, nurtured it and eventually harvested it, he was ecstatic about trying that kale any possible way he could. When your kid is so involved in what they are eating, they are much more likely to give it a try than if it just shows up on their plate one evening. Having them select certain plants they may want to try is a great way to get them to eat healthier and try new food they may have otherwise not been willing to try. 

Eating healthier, learning about science, doing some physical activity, getting in some quality time. These are just the benefits I talked about, but there are so many more I could have mentioned. Think of this short article as just the very tip of the iceberg. There are so many other wonderful reasons to start up a garden with your kids. If you’re looking for more inspiration, I especially like this article from Run Wild My Child.

Get some dirt on your hands with your kid in your garden! You won’t regret it! 

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