Is Gardening Good For Kids? (Part 2) What the Outdoor Classroom Teaches Them
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Co-Author: Sarah Perry
Have you ever wondered why leaves are green?
Or whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable?
Chances are you’ve long since learned the answers to these questions, but wondering what makes the world tick is constantly on the minds of kids.
That’s why their favorite sentences usually begin with WHY?!
Amazingly, gardens are filled with answers to how our world fits together.
Gardening with Kids Encompasses Science and Math
The garden is the perfect place for kids to approach science and math in a natural and hands-on way.
It’s no surprise that all five senses are engaged when gardening or that gardening results in kids eating more fruits and vegetables.
But what you may be surprised at is that gardening offers a wide range of science and math.
Everything from the water cycle to insect studies can be tied into gardening.
Did you know that most farmers have to be amateur meteorologists? When it comes to caring for a garden, understanding the signs in the clouds can mean the difference between a successful harvest or a frozen field of seedlings.
Farmers and gardeners have to be able to calculate how much food can be produced from a single plant (or multiple plants), how many plants they will need to feed their family or a larger community on a consistent basis, and even how much water is needed to help plants survive in different climates.
Gardening Develops Character
Through gardening, kids cultivate patience…waiting for the seed to grow and produce. It takes time, discipline, and perseverance to see the “fruits of their labor.”
It takes the skill of working hard, physically, and mentally, no matter the conditions…rain, snow, sleet, drought, heat, etc.
Even better they learn responsibility knowing that something’s survival depends on their care.
At the end of the day, they grow right along with the seeds. Weathering the storms, growing in strength and character, gardening helps kids develop a respect for their environment.
They become stewards of the earth, who happen to eat their vegetables.
Gardening is a Social Thing
Gardening also creates space for connecting with the people around them. They get to ask questions and learn from their adult teachers or from the other questions their friends ask.
It develops teamwork, learning, and building from each other.
Gardening with kids usually involves the whole family, connecting with one another in a fun environment that’s low stress, but it can also involve whole communities in the form of neighborhood gardens.
Joining in with neighbors teaches them respect for elders, working towards a common goal, and how to reach out to others in need.
Through Active and Tasty fun, Kids Connect With the World in a New Way
Out in the garden they not only get introduced to vegetables they’d never try on their own, but they begin to make connections between what happens in the garden and what happens in the classroom.
And what happens in life.
This year set a goal to visit or volunteer at a local farm! Get your hands dirty with some good clean – and healthy! – fun.
It’s a great way to connect with your kids, your neighbors, and the earth.