There was a time when Farmville, a social media game, rose to popularity. It claimed the attention and interest of everyone, especially children. A player can cultivate his farm through watering, plowing, planting more crops, and taking care of the animals on the farm he built. However, it is still just pretend-play. At this age, where even children at young ages are already tech-savvy, actual outdoor gardening is a whole lot different activity. But how does gardening help a child’s development?
Good Old Days!
It takes us a step back in time when during our early school-age years, gardening is one of the best activities we used to enjoy. We even made gardens of ornamental plants and vegetables spent with rigorous effort, consistency, time, and teamwork to make it grow healthy and thrive beautifully. From knowing what type of garden to create to digging soil, to planting, to selecting varieties of plants, to watering to tidying up, this promotes the development of values, necessary life skills and creates a space for child play while their holistic being is enhanced.
Let’s Take a Look on How Does Gardening Help a Child’s Development
- Perceptual, Motor and Physical Health/ Fitness
Gardening involves the use of all physical senses. They run free in an open space. They jump with delight and excitement with the things they behold. They may carry a pitcher of water for the plants. All these kinds of activities use and improve their locomotor skills, making them active.
Gardening does help a child’s development by stimulating his imagination and vision of what he wants to create. From selecting what plants to include, finding what available materials may be used, color coordination, and using designs and arts to include in the garden helps a child develop this aspect.
Gardening is a task that involves taking care of living things. It enhances a child’s ability to respond to the needs of growing and maintaining a garden. It also inculcates into a child’s mind that he is accountable for whatever his task turns out to be. A sense of responsibility is an important life skill a child needs to be equipped with even later on in life.
- Encourages Good Nutrition/Healthy Eating
A child may want to try a fruit or a vegetable as a product of gardening. It will provide an opportunity to introduce what fruits and vegetables are and how they look like as these are present in the garden. It will make them appreciate the fruits of their labor as substantial foods needed for health.
- Reasoning and Discovery
Gardening helps a child develop his science and math skills. Learning how plants grow and make their food, why some plants need sunlight and how many seeds have yielded fresh produce from the garden provides the child with out-of-the-book learning.
- Interpersonal Skills/Social Growth
How does gardening help a child’s development is evidenced by being able to work cooperatively within a team? Gardening is an active-participative undertaking that allows the child to have a sense of belongingness.
A child learns that there is no rush or shortcuts, even in gardening. When a seed doesn’t sprout, or a mistake made a plant wither, patience is the first thing to keep starting and going over all again.
- Recreation and Relaxation
The outdoors is a great space for having fun. The sunlight promotes happy and sunny moods while being under the rain, and getting in touch with the soil enhances relaxation. The garden space outdoor provides better learning experiences, relieves anxiety and stress levels, and removes boredom out.
- Bonds the Family Together
Gardening is also a great way to bond with the family. It is a convenient time to know and discover what your child wants. On the other hand, your child will also appreciate how it is to work. This is how does gardening helps a child’s development in becoming a family oriented person.
- Importance of Growing Own Food
Whether it’s a salad made from cabbages and toes picked from the garden, a child has grown or a handful of lemons for lemonade to refresh hot summer days, children will be able to grow organic food. It will also help them know how important it is to have something nutritious and beneficial to harvest in the future.
- Respect and Care for Environment
Gardening connects a child with nature leading him to develop reverence, appreciation, and stewardship for nature.
Altogether, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged, and older children will benefit from gardening. However, parents, guardians, and teachers must ensure the safety of the child. Careful and close supervision is needed to see to it that the child performs suitable tasks. Moreover, basic and appropriate equipment must be provided like:
- garden fork
- hand trowel
- adjustable garden hose
- watering can/ pail and dipper
- fences, gates, and other protective equipment like hats, suits, and boots must also be provided.
Getting a child into gardening is a good idea. The child gets to experiment, experience, and discover. What’s most important is the child’s pride and sense of self-accomplishment he earns with gardening. The next time you ponder on how does gardening helps a child’s development, always remember that gardening is learning and fun rolled into one. Nothing is more priceless than seeing your child take a juicy munch out of that fresh apple he planted by himself. Learn more about the benefits of gardening.