Are you planting this season? If so, enlist your child’s help. Children are inherently fascinated with nature and will love getting their hands dirty!
Gardening is a meaningful activity for children of all ages. Aside from being a lot of fun, research shows that gardening has a profound influence on children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.
Below are five specific benefits of gardening with your child.
1. Provides hands-on learning
Gardening is a great way to foster literacy, math and science skills. As you plant seeds, tell your child the name of each plant and discuss the life cycle from seed to flower. Ask him to measure the plant’s growth and record his observations in a journal.
2. Engages all senses
Encourage your child to feel the texture of the dirt, hear birds chirping, see and smell the bright flowers, and taste the delicious vegetables that you harvest. Gardening is a multi-sensory experience!
3. Increases motor development
Your child can strengthen his fine and gross motor skills by picking up tiny seeds, digging holes and pulling weeds. These tasks also help to develop the pincer grasp, a necessary skill for writing.
4. Fosters meaningful family connections
Working together as a family on your garden can be a great tradition and lifelong memory for your child. He’ll learn the value of teamwork as you all work towards a shared goal.
5. Encourages healthy eating
Create a small garden of fruits or vegetables with your child by planting seeds, watering the soil, and harvesting ripe produce. You might discover that even the pickiest eaters are more likely to try food that they helped to grow.