Ten reasons why gardening is great for kids
For many of us, the joys of childhood were simple – a popsicle on a warm day, a book read to us, and hours of playing in the dirt.
Little did we know that simply playing in the dirt (provided it wasn’t filled with toxins and chemicals) was strengthening our immune system and building its resiliency for when we got older.
It was a win-win for our imaginations and our health.
Even though years may have passed since those days, the delight and health benefits of working with the ground hasn’t changed. Kids and adults alike can still reap the advantages that dirt and soil provide and one fun and learning-filled way to do this is through gardening!
Why is gardening great for kids (and adults)? Here are ten reasons to get out the watering can and get planting.
1. Gardening can increase a child’s microbiome. Healthy bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa make up our gut microbiomes that build our immunity, fight infection, and keep us healthy. One place to find these microbes is in healthy soil, which makes gardening an immunity-enhancing activity.
2. Gardening encourages appreciation for the earth and the importance of our climate. Healthy soil, plenty of rain, an abundance of sun, and protection from vermin are all vital for a flourishing garden. Kids can learn the importance of these things throughout the growing process.
3. It helps with the understanding that the world around them is a living entity. Kids may not actually see a plant move, but noticing growth provides them with the opportunity to see how our world is always changing and developing.
4. Gardening helps kids learn where food comes from. Contrary to what they may think, food doesn’t begin and end at the grocery store and growing their own produce can help reinforce that. It’s also helpful in teaching kids the difference between whole food and processed products.
5. Growing food helps teach patience and respect for the process. At a time in which we can access so many things instantaneously, growing plants helps teach patience in order to enjoy the outcome of the process.
6. It’s a lower stimulating hobby. These days, kids frequently spend much of the day on technology and taking a break to stimulate the brain in a calming way that connects them to nature nurtures both their mental and physical health.
7. Growing food encourages kids to make good choices. It’s often easy for kids to grab a sugar-filled processed snack rather than a bag of carrots, but when the carrots are something they’ve grown themselves, it can be exciting to reach for their own achievements.
8. Kids can get more interested in trying new foods. Sliced kohlrabi? Roasted radishes? Basil pesto? Things that may have previously made kids wrinkle their nose in distaste can suddenly become an intriguing new experiment they get to conduct.
9. Kids feel rewarded for a job well done. Hard work is, well, hard. But providing kids the opportunity to put in hard work also gives them the ability to reap the real-life rewards.
10. Gardening is a good life skill. Learning to grow your own food is a skill that can be used throughout the entirety of life.
Whether you have a large backyard space and can plant a traditional garden or just a windowsill and need to bring the garden indoors, gardening offers kids significant learning opportunities and health benefits.