Sadly, we can see how nature is treated these days amongst the general population.  People don’t utilize the joys of nature anymore, nor do they really know how.  They just simply haven’t been taught to embrace the natural world.What can we do about this?  Simple. Start with children are young and engage them in the great outdoors.  One of the easiest and most accessible nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. It’s a great start and so easy to do! Why do we recommend you consider gardening with your children?

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

Science is vitally important for all children to learn. We homeschool and we definitely start with gardening.

When planting a garden, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science by observing the plant’s life cycle; how it develops, how it grows, and how long it takes to reach maturity. Have them plant some seeds and keep a journal drawing the progress each week. They can have a first-hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed. 

Kids will also learn how human’s intervention can make or break the environment.  We can easily teach basic composting, all about worms and why they are important, how our decisions can ruin the dirt or make it thrive, etc. Teach them that certain plants need certain nutrients to thrive and how you can naturally help plants get the food they need. For example, some seeds need more light than others. So have the kids plant those seeds in a very sunny spot in the yard. Some seeds needs different nutrients (corn needs extra nitrogen at a certain stage of development). These are all valuable lessons our children can learn through simple gardening.

Watching a seed grow into a tree, fruit, or vegetable is amazing to watch.  In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them and the life they give. Gardening actually teaches some vital life lessons. All life should be treated with care and love. The necessities that the plants need to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening. All plants need water, sunlight, air, and soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities of water, shelter, air, and food.  By simply weeding out the invasive weeds, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided and removed to be able to live life smoothly.

Studies show that gardening can also reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group, so join your child in the garden! Gardening stimulates all the five senses, so the therapeutic effects are even stronger.  Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children. In our household, we have a child with ADHD and one who is very active and both flourish when helping in the garden. When we garden, each child gets their own section of land that they can grow and tend whatever they want.  It helps build one’s self-esteem because it helps them realize that they really can do anything. It’s not only therapeutic to your children, but you as well.

When you are in the garden, it’s easy to forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely and peaceful ambience.  You can play and spend quality time with your children as you all work together.  You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other. You might even discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.  Use the time to bond.

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs and help them to learn to be in tune with nature. One way to jumpstart that environmental education may be through gardening.  It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them. You can even do what we do and turn it into a month-long unit study that builds on itself year after year.

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