Monday, July 16, 2012

Five Things Kids Learn by Gardening

Today the Climate Crusader is sharing some of the lessons her children have picked up in the garden.

Harvesting garlic
Hannah helps me harvest garlic
In spite of the fact that my success as a gardener is hit-and-miss, I do persist in growing my own veggies year after year. One of the biggest reasons is my children, seven-year-old Hannah and three-year-old Jacob. It's really important to me that they know where their food comes from. I want them to understand why we call carrots "root vegetables" and how much better a freshly-picked tomato tastes. I've also found that they're far more willing to try new vegetables when we grow them ourselves than when they show up, already cooked, on our dinner table.

Over the years I've been gardening with my kids, I've watched them learn some extremely valuable lessons. Today, I'm sharing the top five with you.

Jacob contemplates the seed starts
Jacob contemplates the seed starts

Five Lessons my Kids Learned in the Garden

  1. Interdependence - In order for the plants in our garden to grow, we depend on a lot of other creatures. Worms help to create compost, and they aerate the soil. Bees pollinate the flowers that our berries and tomatoes grow from. Ladybugs eat other bugs that would harm our plants. Human beings are just one part of an interdependent web of life.
  2. Responsibility - If we want our plants to survive, we need to plant them in the right place at the right time. If we get a hot, dry spell, we need to water our plants. If weeds threaten to choke our little seedlings, we need to pick them. These little lessons in taking responsibility fill your daily life when you're growing a garden.
  3. Environmentalism - If we want the Earth to provide us with food, we need to take care of it. We can't throw garbage on our gardens, or trample our plants. We need to consider the impact of our actions and tread lightly if we want to enjoy the harvest.
  4. Love of the Outdoors - By its very nature, our garden is outside. Any time we spend in the garden is spent outdoors. We get to experience the weather, and see the birds, butterflies and neighbourhood cats that wander by. And we get a first-hand view of nature at work. This helps to create an appreciation for the outdoors.
  5. Appreciation for Food - Food tastes better when it's freshly-picked, before it has time to lose any of its flavour. But it's even sweeter when you grew it yourself, and you've seen the time and effort involved. Because my children have been out in the garden picking their own peas, carrots and blueberries since they were babies, they've learned an appreciation for fruits and veggies.
Do you garden with your children? What lessons have you seen them pick up while they were growing vegetables?

1 comment:

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Great points, Climate Crusader. I'm hoping to garden with my kids this year. The garden really does teach many important lessons.


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