Not only is gardening a great way to bond with your kids, but our bodies and brains do better connecting when in the presence of sunshine, fresh air and a cool breeze. Have you ever noticed a difference in your children’s behavior after being outside? Humans are meant to be active, and gardening with your children is a great way to get kids outside, active and interested in healthy eating. For more, check out our blog on healthy eating habits.
Our brain develops through movement and intention, so children are learning more about science, the earth and nutrients as they are taking part in gardening. Also, they are participating in the making and cultivating of food, so they are more likely to eat the fruits and vegetables they have grown themselves. Personally, my son used to throw tomatoes on the floor. But when we grew them together from the garden, he started eating them non-stop. Now, they have become a staple in his diet! Check out this informative article about gardening and the brain.
If you’re tight on space, gardens can be made in containers as well, so that they can take part in the learning even if you don’t have a proper backyard garden to work with. Try growing beans, tomatoes or strawberry plants in containers, which are easy to grow. Encourage your children to water the plants, add soil and plant the seeds or seedlings. You may be surprised at how excited kids can get around watching their vegetables grow! Check out this great online resource for organic seeds.
Seedlings are an easy way to get started, and you can make a fun day out of picking out the seedlings. Locally, we have a farm that provides great service and seedlings called Abma’s, but any nursery will carry seedlings this time of year. Encourage your children to do the research and chose what they would like to grow. When kids are in control, they are more motivated and interested in taking part in the activity.
Two great books to read to your kids about gardening are The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krause and To Be Like the Sun by Susan Marie Swanson. Get your kids some of their own gardening tools, and let them explore in the garden and plant themselves. Let this be a place for them to have their own control and connect with nature.
Here are some of our favorite gardening items for kids:
I also recommend checking out Kids Gardening, which offers great lessons plans and activities to use with your child.
Behaved Brain Wellness Center
Healthier Kids – Happier Parents