10 Benefits of Gardening.
1. Encourages healthy eating – eating healthy food is vital for brain and body development as we all know but it can be hard at times to get children to eat those 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’ therefore they’ll (potentially) eat their 5 a day!
2. Encourages family bonding – This shows what a great bonding gardening can have. 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 – although my carrots have always been epic fails.
3. Introduces children to scientific concepts – Gardening is a good introduction into the world of science especially botany, biology and chemistry. When children plant their first seeds they become curious about what will happen next. They make their own hypothesis and monitor the progress each day. Without even realizing it children are learning the basic steps of the scientific process and as they get older they learn about the impact of sunlight and water on the growth of a plant. They learn which plants need more sunlight, which need less water and how long they take to grow. Gardening offers wonderful science lessons right at home!
4. Teaches responsibility – gardening is a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Kids learn that they have to take care of their seeds each day in order for them to become healthy plants. To help, you can make a checklist that kids can use to make sure they care for their plant every day.
5. Engages the senses – children learn best when engaging their senses and with gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds and flowers, see the vibrant colors and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it is taken from the plant and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening along with all the math and scientific concepts that go along with it.
6. Enhances fine motor development – scooping up the dirt, placing the seeds in the pots and pouring the water all take fine motor control and strength. As kids garden, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.
7. Highlights the importance of taking care of the environment – when children garden they realize how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.
8. Develops math skills – there are so many teachable math moments when gardening from measuring the soil depth to counting the seeds. You can also embed math lessons into the gardening experience. For example, your child can measure the growth of the plant and then create a graph. Children can also measure and compare the sizes of the vegetables as well the number of petals on the flowers. Another fun lesson is to identify all the different shapes that can be found in the garden. This is a great introduction to Geometry.
9. Enhances the ability to plan and organize – for those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organizing a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You have to know what flowers bloom during what time of year, how long it takes a seed to actually turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds. Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem solving skills. It also enhances their organizational strategies which can be carried over to every facet of life!
10. Teaches patience – as I begin the gardening process with my children it has become abundantly clear how important it is to have patience as children are used to immediate gratification, however, gardening is often a slow process so they have to learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow!
All this gardening talk brings me nicely to the subject of ‘Innocents’ (a trusted brand) campaign that they launched – a wonderful incentive to get kids outside sowing and growing in the garden which my children and I took part in. From March until the end of April, every box of innocent smoothies for kids or fruit tubes will come with its very own pack of easy to grow seeds. There’s also GIY involving school or seeds you can apply for which I’ll show in this blog. You have six different varieties to collect in the smoothies – all of these seeds grow into something you can eat! As Spring is here we can finally get our little ones outside for some fresh air!
Seeds included carrots, tomatoes, cress, basil, violets and sunflowers. Every pack will include growing instructions, cut-out plant markers and lots of interesting plant facts to encourage your child’s interest in growing their own plants.
What I really like about the idea is that not only will it give our children a fun new hobby, but it will also teach them about where vegetables come from and hopefully get them eating more of their greens. Whether your garden is big, small or not much at all (like mine! I have fake grass and bark areas!) Innocent seeds can be grown in containers of any shape or size. Schools have also been asked to take the innocent and GIY Sow & Grow pledge and get growing in the classroom. Teachers were able to sign up to receive their special growing packs at www.innocentdrinks.ie/sowandgrow which included seeds, soil, growing guides and lesson plans. Teachers could upload photos of their class planting to receive a special Sow & Grow certificate.
Classes who took the innocent and GIY pledge could’ve won a day trip to Bloom where they will be presented an award by celebrity chef Donal Skehan. The winning school also received €500 worth of growing equipment and one year’s mentorship from GIY specialist in their local area which sounds pretty awesome! The Sow & Grow pledge ran from March until the end of May – not actually sure who won but bet they had a blast! We just had fun in the garden.
GIY (Grow It Yourself) is an organisation that works towards building a healthier, more sustainable world where people grow their own food. They bring people together in community groups and online where they inspire and empower them to grown vegetables. There are over 100 GIY community groups and around 12,000 people involved in the organisation. Whether your garden is big, small or not much at all (like mine! I have fake grass and bark areas!) Innocent seeds can be grown in containers of any shape or size.
Visit Innocent Big Grow for more information!