Gardening is an engaging way to teach a child about healthy lifestyles and skills that are far reaching.
Eating healthy food is important for a child’s body and brain development but it can be difficult to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies. By having them grow their own string beans, carrots and lettuce, they will have a sense of pride in eating what they have “created”. This, in turn, will emphasize the importance of healthy eating. Kids may soon learn to love eating strawberries, blueberries and even broccoli. Moving soil, planting, weeding and tending to their garden gives children the opportunity to be physically active and decrease their time in front of a screen.
Gardening can have a wonderful bonding effect between a child and their parents. Kids and parents can work together to decide what flowers and vegetables to plant and where to plant them. Families can then work together to make meals using the vegetables they have grown. The gardening experience not only can create positive experiences and memories but it can also strengthen their communication with each other. In this electronic age, kids need time for meaningful family connection. Working in the garden can help reduce stress levels in both the adult and children allowing them to be more present and focused on each other. A gardening program for children that includes parents can help strengthen parenting skills but also provide a source of support for parents.
Gardening is a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Kids learn that they have to take care of their garden through the various stages of growth (from seed to a producing plant). The responsibility of caring for a garden also teaches children to be observant to the needs of their gardening and problem-solving through challenges their garden may face. Kids also learn patience. They learn that gardening is a slow process and that not everything provides immediate gratification. They have the opportunity to learn that waiting actually makes the moment the flower or vegetable sprouts even more exciting.
Gardening can offer children the opportunity to expand their knowledge in math and science. The increased physical activity of working in a garden can help children with their attention and focus. A garden also provides children the opportunity to explore and be more creative.
Through the Johnson Coalition Alliance for Healthy Kids (JCAHK) and Healthy Children Coalition for Parker County (HCCPC), we support local gardens so children have a hands-on opportunity to grow what they eat. Gardens are built to accommodate each site partner’s individual needs – some are built in raised beds, containers, towers, with indoor grow lights, or in individual planters for kids.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email Dora Garcia.