Gardening is one of those most practical, educational and inexpensive activities you can do with your kids if you are a single parent family on a tight budget. Not only does gardening engage your kids and stimulate their minds but activities like these help to build a stronger bond between parent and child.
Obviously gardening is not for everyone. You might find that you’d have better luck introducing the activity to your younger, curious kids with a bit more of the artsy side. But, encourage the kids to engage because there are important learning opportunities when gardening.
What Kids Learn about Gardening
Gardening develops a sense of responsibility in kids
Gardening develops a sense of responsibility and care because they have to look after the plant daily and water it.
Gardening helps teaches patience
Growing a plant takes time and patience. Nurturing it daily until it grows from seed to plant requires many days.
Gardening teaches you spatial planning skills
Estimating how much space you need to plant your seeds is important in ensuring you don’t get overcrowding of plants in a small space. Gardening requires measuring, planning and estimating how much area you need to grow the types of plants you choose.
Gardening improves motor skills
Planting requires movement. From placing or transferring soil into containers, digging, watering, pruning and finally harvesting, all those activities improve motor skills for young kids.
Not only does gardening engage your kids and stimulate their minds but activities like these help to build a stronger bond between parent and child.
Learning about Plants and Food
Plants are part of our ecosystem and provides food security. It’s essential to our health and should be part of a nutritional and balanced meal. Teaching your kids about the importance of why we grow vegetables, fruits and herbs, why we eat them and how we cook with them are all part of creating a healthy diet and lifestyle.
You and the kids can research about the various types of herbs and what types of cuisine and dishes they are used in. You can also get your kids to research how to grow them, where they can best thrive and how they are harvested. For example, thyme is often used for roasted chicken and potatoes, its easy to grow with full sunlight exposure, can be grown in a container or on the ground easily outdoors and has over 50 varieties. Aside from its use for cooking, they also have medicinal properties and can help to heal certain types of illnesses.
You and your kids can put together a table for your research program and decide on a few fruits, vegetables and herbs you can learn about. There are some great resources you can refer to for information on plants.
|When to plant
|How long to grow
|Where to grow
|When to harvest
|What dishes can use this
|What other uses does it have
Once you and your kids have decided which plants you want to grow, the second part of the learning curve begins. Getting the right tools, preparing the soil and buying the seeds or cuttings will be the next task at hand. If you have an end game with the types of plants you choose to grow, it might be more rewarding.
For example, if you plant tomatoes with the intent to use it for your salad, it might be a great way for the kids to experience the full life cycle of gardening.
The Basics Requirements for a Successful Garden
Gardening is a cheap activity but if you don’t have good soil in your garden, you may need to buy a few things at the local hardware store or the grocery store. You can get decent gardening tools from the dollar store for a few bucks.
Things you will need in order to grow plants successfully:
- Fertile soil
- Seeds, roots or cuttings
- Properly draining containers or pots
- Organic fertilizers
Focus on Plants that are Easiest to Grow
Choosing plants that are easy to grow will be the most rewarding. If you don’t already have a garden outside, you can grow plants indoors where they can be managed well. Find varieties that can grow indoors and in containers like microgreens. Microgreens are used as a nutrition supplement, a visual enhancement, and a flavor and texture enhancement in dishes.
The 5 best microgreens that can be useful in your cooking and produce high yields:
- Red stem (Radish)
- Dark opal (basil)
- Kale (cress)
- Garnet giant (Mustard)
- Monogram (Cilantro)
The Benefits of Gardening Go a Long Way
So many great reasons to garden with your kids. Gardening can be hard or easy depending on the type of plants you choose and the hardiness of the species. There are many benefits to gardening:
- It keeps the kids physically active
- It allows you to enjoy an educational but fun activity together
- It allows them to appreciate healthy eating by growing food organically
- It teaches them about the food system
- It allows you to save money by growing the plants at home instead of buying them
- It allows you to enjoy your meal with the plants you use in your dish
Finally, gardening is a great way to bond and build many lasting memories together.