Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5 Benefits of Gardening With Kids

It's that time of year again. Time to turn the soil, bury seeds in the earth and lovingly plant starts. Whether your thing is flowers, edibles, or in my case both, planting a garden can be a totally enriching experience for the entire family.

There are a lot of benefits of gardening with your kids. Besides the excuse they have for getting really dirty, it really teaches them a lot.

1. Don't think of me as a tree hugging liberal when I say this (because, yes, I DO shave my legs) but it really teaches your kids to be in tune with nature. I love nature! I love to be out in it and love giving back to the environment. There is nothing more satisfying than putting a seed in the ground, nurturing it, and watching it grow into a beautiful plant. It will give your kids a more profound look at how things grow and more of an appreciation for the world around them.

2. Kids will eat healthier. Not only will they be eating wholesome, organic, fresh picked food but they will be more willing to try new things if they grew it themselves. Really get them involved from the beginning with growing all the way through with the picking and preparing of the food.

3. It will help them to learn responsibility at an early age. Someone has to be responsible for weeding, watering, feeding and tending the garden or it will die. Give them a small little area that is all their own to take care of all on their own (with a little help of course if they are small enough to need it ;o)

4. Helps to give kids a more service minded attitude. They are starting by giving back to the earth and to the family by helping provide food for the table. It goes beyond that though. If your garden is like ours, everything ripens at once, making way too much for us to be able to eat before it goes bad. Giving to friends and neighbors gives your kids an added bonus of being able to share their hard word with those around them.

5.Gives them a sense of self satisfaction, accomplishment and confidence. They grew that. They got to watch a little seed turn into a thriving, producing plant. Take that to the next level by integrating a healthy competition. See who can grow the largest pumpkin or the tallest corn stock. Have your own little family fair at the end of the season with prizes. Just make it fun.

Gardening can be both educational and rewarding. Hard work yes, but the benefits are worth it.

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