Sure gardens can produce some of the tastiest vegetables and beautiful flowers, but the benefits to gardening with kids extends beyond the harvest. They can strengthen life skills and enrich academic learning for kids as well.
The garden is our outdoor classroom. Admittedly, gardens are work, but the benefits to garden with kids are never ending!
Gardening with Kids Teaching Life Long Skills
Gardening takes time. Even the fastest radish seed cannot be harvested until 30 days after it is has been planted. Carrots may take up to 90 days! This teaches children that not everything good must happen instantly.
Gardening takes work. Plants need to be watered. Dirt needs to be weeded. Leaves need to be checked for insects. And vegetables and fruits must be harvested. Encouraging children to take ownership over these tasks in the garden develops responsibility.
3. Not everything goes perfect all the time.
Yes, gardening with kids is all about trial and error. You may have squirrels, slugs, or caterpillars eat your plants. There may be times when the seeds you plant never sprout. Sometimes, you may even learn that not giving the plant enough space, sunlight, or water means it won’t grow big and strong.
4.Excitement with the Natural World.
Gardening with kids can build up enthusiasm for the natural world. This in turn may lead to further explorations. A young child may begin to ask questions about the different plants outside and a teenager may decide to try the art of bonsai gardening.
Gardening with Kids Extends Academic Learning in the Real World
Gardening with kids naturally connects well with science.
- perform easy garden experiments with the vegetables from their refrigerator,
- test the soil acidity levels
- explore simple propagation
- learn about bees and pollination
Gardening with kids lends well to mathematics. We are often measuring the distance between plant placements, between rows, and the seed depth.
Last, but definitely not least, the garden is a wonderful way to connect children with reading and writing.
- make and go on an alphabet garden hunt
- read a garden themed picture book
- make your own plant labels
- set up an invitation to read in the garden
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The Garden Classroom Book
As you can tell by our blog, here at The Educators’ Spin On It, we believe that the garden is a true outdoor classroom. My kids wake up and race outside to check on their growing tomatoes and it melts my heart. They know where their food grows and how it grows. They have even started to check out their own gardening books at the library to find out more about plants. Our gardens are truly a place where math, science, literacy and art take place.
Cathy James, is a fellow kindred spirit in the kid gardening world! We are so very excited for the arrival her latest book The Garden Classroom: Hands-On Activities in Math, Science, Literacy, and Art. It is packed with ideas for outdoor play and learning for gardens of every size! Click to Amazon for more information.
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