I’ve always had a very keen interest in the outdoors, animals, nature – you name it. Partly because my dad loves nature. He instilled that love in all of us (siblings) and I couldn’t be more grateful. There’s a certain peace from being outdoors in nature that’s just so beautiful.
I’ve been wanting to introduce Jana to gardening for a while now. I guess I waited a while because I want her to be able to get her hands dirty and do most things for herself. Having said that, those are high expectations from a 2 year old!
There are such wonderful benefits from gardening with your children. (Vegetable) gardening helps them see where produce comes from and in turn encourages them to eat what they’ve grown. This helps them understand where food comes from. They will also be able to see the difference between home grown and store bought food.
It teaches them a life skill, how to be self sustainable. This is a life skill they won’t get to learn in school and so it’s something worth investing in with your children. It can also be a wonderful activity to do as a family. Families can learn to help each other and share. You can even bond over successes or help each other through loss and failure.
Along with the fun of getting your hands dirty (yes it is fun!) it teaches patience as kids wait to see what they’ve grown, it teaches responsibility when they learn the care they give to these plants is what will help them thrive or even loss when the plants don’t sprout or wilt and die.
They learn about nurturing a life and what it takes to keep something alive. When you garden, you know how much energy you use? It gives me a good workout and that physical excercise is good for children, working and playing in the garden. Using spray bottles to water the leaves is great fine motor activity for toddlers. You can have each child take a certain responsibility for the day and switch them around so everyone gets to try their hand at something different.
You can start with something easier – something that grows fairly quickly like radish or spinach. These take about a month or so. We have only just started our vegetable garden but it helps to read up on what you want to do, or simple ideas to help the process.
We planted our seeds in these egg shells (teaches them about recycling too!) and I got Jana to help me draw and colour some pictures of the seeds we’re growing.
Keep the garden a place for less regulation and more learning through experience. If your kid wants to drop ten seeds in one hole, let them do it and when it doesn’t grow you can talk about what went wrong and what you can do to make it better next time.