This month and every month, Stockslagers is encouraging everyone to bring their kids and grandkids to the garden center!
Gardening is a wonderful childhood activity that improves cognitive and physical development in countless ways. Children are bound to remember the happy memories of their growing-up gardens for the rest of their lives. Planting a seed, taking care of the seedling, and watching a plant grow to a large, healthy plant is like magic for kids.
Here are some reasons why it’s worth it to hand your child the garden shovel and make this year’s gardening a family activity.
1. Kids that garden score higher in math and science.
Gardening can spark a scientific curiosity in children to last a lifetime. From learning their very first science concepts such as “why do plants need sunshine and water?” to studying nutrition skills, garden insects, soil testing, and learning about effects of weather on crops.
Math skills can be honed in the garden as well. Children can measure the growth of a plant over time, and count how many pumpkins are popping out on the vine. Children can help measure the garden plot, decide how many rows to plant, and follow seed packet directions to sow the correct amount of seeds in an area. These are skills that will be carried over into the classroom and throughout the rest of their lives.
2. Gardening boosts a child’s immune system.
Scientists say that the best way to protect your children from a lifetime of allergies and autoimmune disorders is by letting them play in the dirt.
According to studies, children who grow up gardening develop strong immune systems that know which foreign microbes are harmless and that don’t have to be attacked. Exposure to microbes early on can train the immune system to be less sensitive to harmless microbes. Get the kids outside in the garden to strengthen their immunity!
3. Gardening alleviates symptoms of ADHD.
According to studies, gardening improves symptoms of ADHD by promoting team work, honing the skills of planning and developing a garden, and promotes care, respect, and responsibility. These skills motivate their learning in the classroom. Gardening is physical, allowing children with ADHD to work and play outside in the sunshine while engaging their bodies and minds. Studies show that movement aids in the stimulation of young minds and in behavior management.
Teachers who initiate a gardening-centered learning plan with boys who have ADHD found that the boys took initiative, developed a positive sense of ownership, and that the boys learned math without even realizing it.
4. Gardening as a family results in meaningful family connection away from screens.
Between work schedules, school schedules, and extra-curricular activities, daily family life can feel hectic these days. So many parents that come into Stockslagers tell us they love the opportunity their garden gives them to be with their children in a calming, relaxing environment where they can work and play side by side. Studies show that gardening together can improve family relationships.Gardening together can also improve the overall mental and physical health of the family. Families who garden together learn together, exercise together, spend time outside together, and eat healthy foods together.
5. Gardening educates children about where their food comes from.
For the most part, modern American children understand only that their cucumbers come shrink-wrapped from the grocery store. They see their blueberries arrive in their homes in plastic boxes, and they don’t think twice about it. Gardening changes all that. It educates children that some foods grow underground, some foods grow on a bush, others on a vine, and others grow on a tree. Children learn the difference between beans, root crop, and bush plants, and can see and participate in the garden-to-table process.
6. Gardening lowers stress and helps kids learn to relax.
According to studies, people who garden score better on all measures of health and well-being than their neighbors who do not garden. Gardening is incredibly relaxing – it’s time spent outdoors in typically wonderful weather. It’s an exercise in patience and noticing the beauty of the little things. Those who garden are relaxing and exercising at the same time, while also working their brains. It helps people focus and experience calm. When you garden, do you notice that you could care less about your smart phone or checking social media? Your kids are likely to feel the same way once they get out in the sunshine and start digging in the dirt.
Furthermore, those who garden have a more positive outlook on life. People who have a garden as a refuge report that they have more positive things happening in their lives. We all want our kids to look on the bright side of life. A garden might be just the ticket.
7. Gardening shows kids a deep responsibility in caring for the planet.
The best way to raise kids who grow to be stewards of the environment is to get them outside. Developing a true connection with nature with inspire children to become protectors of nature. Kids who garden develop an appreciation for what plants need to grow, the importance of clean gardening practices that are safe for animals and humans, and how caring for the environment can have a direct impact on the quality of our lives.
There’s no doubt that gardening is a wonderful activity for kids. Make the most out of your family gardening experience by supplementing their home-garden education:
- Pick up books from the local library about gardening
- Visit your local greenhouse or botanical garden
- Keep a photo journal of the plants you’re growing
- Bring the kids into the kitchen – let them cook the food they grow
So this summer, garden as a family. You will all reap the benefits.