10 Reasons To Get Kids Into The Garden

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10 Reasons To Get Kids Into The Garden | LazyHippieMama.comThere is a rumor going around that it may touch 60 degrees in this part of Michigan today. If it does, it will be the warmest day we’ve had in four months. It has been a long, cold winter and everyone is more than ready for spring!  I’d be willing to bet garden centers all around the area will be bustling, even though it’s really too early to trust the warmth. As that last frost date draws closer, though, I’d like to give you 10 great reasons to toss your kids out the door and into the garden.

1) Planting a garden is a great expression of creativity.

I believe when the Bible says that man is created “in the image of God” that refers, at least in part, to the creative spirit.  It is sheer joy to allow your garden be a living canvass upon which you bring your ideas  to literal fruition!  It’s true that kids might mess up the plan. They trample things and dig in the wrong spots. They put too many seeds in one hole and none in the next. Frankly, I do the same things. But if you have the type of personality that just gets really irritated by that perhaps you could share a corner or a pot or a pallet with the little people.  The creative spark in children runs bright and hot and you just might be amazed at what they can do when left to figure things out for themselves!

2) Being in nature has a calming effect.

It’s not just an old wives tale. Science backs up the theory that people who spend time out doors are calmer, more peaceful and better focused.  (Source)  If your children are driving you nuts with their wild antics hand them a bucket and boot them outside to pull weeds.  You’ll feel better. They’ll feel better. Everybody wins!

10 Reasons To Get Kids In The Garden | LazyHippieMama.com

3) Children who spend time outside do better in school.

There’s all that, above, but there’s this, too. Studies show that kids who spend time outside perform better in academic settings. (Source)

4) Helping to grow vegetables encourages eating vegetables.

Hand me a can of grayish-green peas and tell me it’s a side dish and I’ll turn my nose up at it every time, but I’ll happily munch fresh peas from the vine all afternoon!  Kids have taste buds, too!  Food, fresh from the garden, is flavorful and nourishing. Plus, it’s indescribably satisfying it is to see a plant that you’ve nurtured from a seed bear good fruit.  Even the pickiest veggie hater will find something they love to nibble if you give them enough time in the garden.

5) Gardening is a great way to teach children about how every part of our world is valuable and deserves respect.

A good garden needs worms and insects, dirt and old leaves and clean water and sunshine. I have never experienced a more tangible way of seeing, first-hand how every single thing on this earth is intricately and irrevocably woven together.  When we respect and care for all of the parts of our world and, in return, our world nourishes us. That’s a lesson every child needs to learn.

10 Reasons To Get Kids In The Garden | LazyHippieMama.com6) Getting dirty helps build the immune system.

Did you know that keeping your child too clean will make them sick? Kids raised in very sterile environments have a much higher tendency to asthma, allergies and immune problems.  (Source) Encourage your child to play in the dirt!

7) Being together in the garden presents great opportunities for conversation.

You know how “they” say you should limit screen time to 2.7 minutes a day (or something like that) for children under 17? Yeah… we don’t do that. We are a plugged in family. It is not unusual, at any given moment for me to be pecking away on my MacBook while Handsome Hippie Hubby is doing research on his laptop, Sweet Hippie Daughter is reading on her tablet and Toddler-saurus Rex is sorting colored shapes into baskets on the Kindle Fire.  We get in the car and we’re singing to the radio. We’re at the store and we’re focused on crossing items off the list.  But in the garden…  in the garden it’s just us. There is all the time in the world to talk about anything and everything while we putter along doing whatever needs to be done.

8) Gardening is great physical exercise.

We are a nation that asks our children to  sit  a LOT.  Sit on the bus. Sit in the car. Sit at your desk. Sit for your music lesson. Sit in church. Sit at the table. Sit down and do your homework. Ok, time to relax. Feel free to go sit on the couch and watch TV.

Gardening is motion. It is bending and lifting and digging and crawling.  If you make the mistake I did last year and put your plants too close together it’s like a yoga class trying to get to the fruit without squishing anything!  If you doubt that gardening is exercise, give it a go, just for a day or two and tell me how your back feels when you are done!

9) Problem solving, building, engineering and chemistry are all part of gardening.

10 Reasons To Get Kids In The Garden | LazyHippieMama.comYou’ve got a 12 foot long tomato vine crushing the 3 foot wire cage that is supposed to be supporting it.  How can you use the long stakes you have to get the plant up off the ground before it rots?

How do you get the water to spray on something that’s just out of reach of the hose?

How do you re-route the rain run-off so it doesn’t drown your beets?

Is the soil acidic or base? Is that good or bad? Why? How can it be adjusted?

Gardeners need to be constantly figuring and calculating, building and experimenting to see what works.  Gardening is science.

10) Because no child needs to watch another episode of…. anything.

Have you seen EVERY episode of SpongeBob Squarepants 782 times? Is one more day of Thomas the Train going to derail your brain?  Take your child out to the garden. Show them how to turn the sod. Let them plant seeds, mound up potatoes, pick beans or hand-pollinate squash blossoms.  You’ll both feel better for it.

Do you have a special memory of being in the garden with kids, or of being a kid in the garden with an adult you loved? 

I’d love it if you would share it in the comments!

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23 responses »

  1. When we first moved into this house and started a garden, I took pictures of the older two with their dad, putting the seeds into the ground; the youngest was in a stroller watching because she couldn’t stand on her own yet. It was that important to me that it be remembered.

  2. Hi, I’m visiting from the SITS girls. When i was young i worked in the garden with my mom’s older brother, my Uncle DeDe. I loved the food, but hated the bugs! LOL!

  3. *sigh* I’d LOVE to be out in the garden TODAY, but being in MN, that’s not going to happen for a bit longer. You’re in MI, though, so I know you can relate. Once the snow is all gone (aaaalllllllmooooost), it will be cleaning up the garden that comes first. We’ve got seeds to start inside this week, though! Such a fun promise of things to come! Happy, happy SITS day! 🙂

  4. Happy SITS Day! I hope you have a great one! 🙂

    I’m looking forward to all our snow melting so the kids can have more outside time! Right now, it’s a cold, muddy mess…and cold, hard snow that is not able to be played in. Kinda sad and makes us all a little stir crazy. 🙂

    One of these days, I want to have some sort of garden, though I can’t have anything huge because of where I live (regulation and all that). I want to grow some tomatoes, herbs and a few other things. For now, we have the boys (11 1/2 and nearly 10) help out with yard work, and our daughter (3 1/2) helps out where she can. It is good for all of them! 🙂 We encourage work and play…away from the computers, TV, etc. because that is what is best.

  5. Oh, hai there!!! 🙂 So very nice to see you featured at SITS today!! Happy happy SITS day, my little hippie friend 🙂

    I never much got into gardening sadly. But all of my memories of my mother involve her pulling roots from the backyard, arguing with the deer for eating her bulbs, and spending hours admiring her flowers. It really is a beautiful gift to share with your children and I love that you are creating such wonderful memories for them–and you’re totally right; that weed pulling is some great exercise!

  6. I remember as a child working in our garden. We had a little of everything and we lived in Michigan, off the Lake Michigan shore. They were very happy memories, tending to the garden and then helping my parents put up the veggies and fruits so that we had them in the winter months. Nothing like the greatest smell in the world when my mom was making bread & butter pickles. Yum. Thanks for posting. I hope you’re enjoying your SITS day.

  7. I love gardening with my children. Even though I’m still learning, it’s a wonderful time for us to connect and for them to LEARN! I have fond memories of my grandma’s large garden… pulling up carrots, weeding, picking (and eating) peas and raspberries. Such lovely memories.

    Happy SITS Day my dear! Enjoy.
    xoxo

  8. I’m so excited about planting our garden this year and it’s almost time. I know what you mean about itching to get ready for it even though you can’t trust the weather yet!

  9. Happy SITS day! Both my girls love gardening. I’m hoping to have an actual garden this year for them instead of just pots. And if letting kids get dirty builds their immune systems, my kids must have some tough immune systems :). Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait for spring either!

  10. Happy SITS day! Such a great idea. We don’t have a garden, so the best I do is take them to the farmers market and let the older one help me pick stuff out, but one day!

  11. Yeah…I need to do more of this. I’ve always been 100% on board with the idea, but then I realized that it feels like a lot of work to me sometimes. I probably deserve the “lazy” title on this one. No, I definitely do. For every reason it’s so good to get your kids outside to work/play in the garden and your 1 through 10 couldn’t have been more on point. I know I’ll be thinking about this post as the season starts warming up here in NY. I shall shame myself into being a better gardening mom 😉 Thanks girl!

    Oh, and Happy SITS day!!

  12. My grandfather had a huge garden with vegetables and flowers. Such wonderful memories of running through the garden and planting seeds with him. I now have a garden every summer with my son. We plants herbs, tomatoes, squash, peppers and eat from it all season long. Pure happiness!

  13. Hello Elizabeth,

    Glad to have discovered your blog through this post–it came up as a “Related Article” suggestion when I was typing up my own post about clearing my mind through cleaning my house and weeding my garden, so I included it here–it’s in the bottom section: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2014/08/clean-house-clear-mind.html. I completely agree with you that getting kids into the garden is a wonderful idea on so many fronts, and you’ve nailed many of them here! My father gardened with me when I was little and it’s something I’ve passed on to my children. Calming, indeed!

    Best,
    Joy

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