I can’t help but chuckle at the idea of someone like me writing a post like this. Because, trust me, some of my past experience with plants hardly make me a poster girl for amazing gardening!
I am the daughter of a green-thumbed, stick-anything-in-the-ground-and-watch-it-flourish kind of woman, and yet I did not inherit the gardening gene. For years I found myself doing a much better job killing plants than growing them!
But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And again. And again. And again…
And eventually I have come to meet with some success. Really, it was just a matter of me finding my groove and learning that a container garden works better for me than a traditional earth garden, at least in our present home. I’ve learned to grow flowers and vegetables for our family, and I’ve been able to include my kids in the process, which has been a wonderful learning experience for them as well!
So why not seize upon that opportunity this growing season? Whether you feel confident with gardening or not, here are four great reasons to give it a try with your kids.
Gardening can help prevent the dreaded summer mantra: “I’m bored!”
It is not a parent’s job to keep her children entertained. I mean, sometimes boredom can be a really good thing if it pushes kids to use their imaginations or drives them to be creative and innovative.
But sometimes kids need something constructive to do, and gardening can provide that. There is almost always planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding, harvesting, and other tending to be done, and you never know when a child might show a real propensity for gardening and wind up finding real pleasure in the process.
Gardening teaches responsibility.
I’m a believer in chores for kids. No, I’m not an advocate of child slave labor (just in case you have any uncertainty there), but I do think it’s important for kids to take some ownership of their homes and families and thus accept some of the responsibility of caring for it.
And that can include working in the garden! Kids can help beautify the home by caring for flowers and also help feed the family by tending vegetables. It gives them an important part in maintaining the home and family.
Gardening teaches kids that giving something proper care and attention can reap real rewards.
This is probably my favorite thing about gardening. It’s simple really: If things are taken care of the right way, they tend to blossom, grow, and produce great things. If they are neglected, they wither.
In how many other areas of life does that same principle apply? Proper care and attention in our spiritual lives, our marriages, our relationships, our homeschools, and our possessions can make all the difference in how these things blossom for us in the long term.
Kids can learn lessons in both botany and horticulture.
Botany and horticulture are actually different studies, in case you didn’t know. Botany is the scientific study of plants and plant life while horticulture actually covers the artsy side of gardening as well, like garden design and the use of ornamental plants and flowers. Kids can learn a lot about both in a very hands-on way just by experimenting in the garden.
For more great ideas for getting started and then getting the most learning out of your garden, check out Stephanie’s post on Homeschool Gardening, which is absolutely replete with info and great lesson ideas.
For a valuable list of printables to go along with any gardening study, don’t miss this list of Botany, Gardening, and Nature Printables from Wendy.
And when you start your planning, consider using heirloom seeds. For an interesting look at their use, read Choose Heirloom Seeds When Planting Your Garden from Jill.
So do you have plans for a garden this year? If you’ve gardened with kids before, what are the best lessons your kids have learned from the experience?