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The Benefits of Gardening for Children

Aug 8, 2023

Aug 8, 2023


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In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, children often find themselves disconnected from nature, instead turning to screens for entertainment. Nurturing a love for gardening in children can help bridge this gap and unlock a number of benefits. Gardening is not just about growing plants; it is proven to boost physical, mental, and emotional development. In this article, we explore the advantages of introducing children to the wonders of gardening.

Gardening and outdoor activities can boost mental wellbeing

Engaging in gardening activities (either as part of the school curriculum, via clubs and activities groups, or home-based) has been shown to promote social relationships, family connection, emotional and mental wellbeing, moderate stress, reduce depression and anxiety, and improve cognitive and educational outcomes in children and adolescents! With a list of benefits that long, what’s not to love? True, it’s one of the messier activities for kids, but it offers them an opportunity to connect with nature - an activity that, even in small doses, can improve self-esteem and mood. Gardening can also improve focus, patience, and perseverance as children learn to care for their plants and watch them grow.

Gardening is good for physical health, too!

According to the 2021 Childwise Monitor Report, kids are spending even more time online—up to 3.8 hours a day. Gardening offers an excellent opportunity for children to get out in the fresh air and engage in physical exercise. Digging, planting, watering, and weeding are all activities that not only require movement but can be quite physically demanding too! For green-fingered toddlers, gardening can also help to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and overall strength while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Gardening activities can stimulate children’s curiosity

Gardening is a treasure trove of learning experiences for children. For toddlers, getting stuck into choosing seeds, planting them, and watching them grow can help them to develop an appreciation of nature and give them an opportunity to ask questions. For slightly older kids, gardening can encourage them to get hands-on with scientific concepts, from life cycles and pollination to photosynthesis. Gardening can also be used as a way to get children practising other subjects, from measuring plant growth (maths) or writing about gardening (literacy), to using plants and flowers as part of art projects.

Caring for plants fosters a sense of responsibility

Whatever ages your children are, taking care of plants requires commitment and responsibility. Gardening provides valuable life lessons about patience, resilience, and the rewards of hard work. It also helps children to learn about cause and effect and consequences when it comes to taking care of living things (or not!). Gardening can also help kids to learn about their responsibility towards the environment - conserving resources, recycling, and composting.

A vegetable patch can help promote healthy eating

Growing fruit and vegetables can be a great way to help kids to develop understanding of where their food comes from; from selecting and planting the seed; tending to the crops; right through to preparing, cooking and (fingers crossed!) enjoy the fruit and veg they have grown. The Food Growing in Schools report (2012) highlights compelling evidence that proves food growing can help to support children to achieve, build life and employability skills, and improve their health and well-being - as well as improving eating habits. The BBC Good Food website has a great guide to growing fruit and veg with kids.

What should the focus be during each season?

There are plenty of compelling reasons to get kids involved in gardening, but, unless you’re green-fingered yourself, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are our tips for how to get out in the garden (and what to focus on!) during each season:

Gardening for kids in spring:

Gardening for kids in summer:

Gardening for kids during winter:

By cultivating green fingers, children encounter a whole host of benefits. So, let’s grab those gardening tools, get our hands dirty, and get out in the garden. And, for those that LOVE being out in nature, why not have a look at the benefits of forest school for kids.