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Gardening with Kids

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

What can your children learn from gardening?

One of the easiest ways to get children to like vegetables is to let them grow them on their own. There's something magical about watching seeds turn into food that makes spinach and broccoli taste better---much better than when those green veggies mysteriously appear in the home from produce shelves. Try gardening with your kids to teach them about where food comes from and help them build character.


One of the easiest ways to get children to like vegetables is to let them grow them on their own. There's something magical about watching seeds turn into food that makes spinach and broccoli taste better---much better than when those green veggies mysteriously appear in the home from produce shelves. Try gardening with your kids to teach them about where food comes from and help them build character.

Learning to appreciate new foods is only one benefit of bringing children into the garden. Here are some other "life lessons" children (and parents) can learn from gardening:

  • Patience: Growing vegetables does not happen overnight. In most cases, it takes months before anything you plant is ready to eat. Patience is a must. Children can learn a thing or two about patience by waiting for food to grow, and the anticipation becomes pleasant when they can check plants each day for signs of new growth.

  • Respect: Vegetable gardening can teach children respect for a number of things, especially the earth. Until they actually work the soil and see how plants grow, children may not see dirt as anything more than a place to play. In addition to learning respect for Mother Earth, children will learn to appreciate the hard work that stands behind each vegetable on the grocery store shelf and have respect for the farmers who grew it.

  • Work Ethic: With gardening, you get out what you put into it, and it's a sure way to show children that their efforts are rewarded.

  • Ownership: When kids work in the garden, whether its one row or one plant, they learn to take ownership of that part of the garden. Caring for their very own plants makes them feel proud of their accomplishments and willing to accept responsibility.

  • Decision-making: Involving children in the garden planning process lets them exercise decision-making skills, like choosing what vegetables to plant and how many.

  • Discipline: Caring for a garden is not something you can do one day, skip for a while and return to on your leisure. Tending vegetables takes diligent effort every day, for weeding, pest control and harvesting. Children can learn that certain chores (like garden tasks) cannot be skipped and learn to incorporate work into their daily routine.


In addition to building character, when children garden they build lifelong memories of working with their family, which is something they can share with the next generation.

 

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