In this day and age, children pay more attention to their mobile phones, tablets, and gaming consoles. They can spend up to three hours a day playing games and watching videos online. This has led parents to find ways to make sure they regulate the time their kids spend in front of a screen—whether it's in front of the television or their gadgets.
Among the most effective ways to get kids to enjoy the outdoors is to introduce them to gardening. PBS Parents on their Experts Tips & Advice page note that gardening has numerous positive effects on a child’s brain, body, and soul. The site believes that the garden is one of the most important tools a parent can have.
Here are some of the reasons why gardening is important to a child’s upbringing:
- It opens doors to meaningful family connections
When children remove their eyes from their screens, they become more aware of the environment around them. They learn to interact with family and friends, they see the value of team building, and they learn valuable communication skills.
- It introduces kids to healthy living
Nothing teaches kids more about living a healthy lifestyle than letting them plant their own fruit and vegetables. It’s a great way to help them understand the concept of vitamins and minerals without being too scientific. Instead of showing them videos online or reading it to them from books, showing them how things grow and what they can get from fresh produce will work wonders. Flowering plants like Verbena bonariensis are a great option as they attract butterflies. For easy-to-grow vegetables, tomatoes are ideal. These grow easily in big containers or large compost bags. When it’s time to harvest, let the kids go crazy picking them.
Gardening is a great opportunity for kids to enjoy various outdoor activities with their parents. Get down and dirty with them and do some digging, planting, and watering.
- It helps raise happy kids
The abundance of physical activities not only helps kids physically—it also helps them mentally and emotionally. Physically active kids show signs of improved moods and decreased anxiety. When children grow their own produce or when they see they were able to help a flower bloom, they get a sense of fulfilment that can help boost their self-esteem.
- It creates environmental awareness
Introducing gardening activities like composting food scraps for fertiliser, gathering rainwater, and responsible waste disposal can show children the importance of respecting nature. Who knows, they might even develop a knack for advocating for the environment.
Where to begin
Starting a small garden at home doesn’t have to be complicated. The Telegraph shares a detailed gardening checklist for anyone interested in creating a simple oasis at home. The list includes the best plants for a family garden, from delicious herbs to beautiful flowering plants and wildlife magnets. The design is key to make sure the garden is conducive to plant growth while at the same time it remains child-friendly. Picking a low-maintenance set-up can also help make upkeep simple and straightforward. It’s best to create a multi-purpose garden.
Make sure that children are able to make creative use of the different parts of the garden. Having a feature that can shelter them from the weather is ideal. A pergola, for instance, can be used as a covered outdoor play area, or, if the structure is sturdy enough, add a simple tire swing that the kids can enjoy. The stylish pergolas featured on Screwfix show the many different styles available depending on the garden’s design and desired use. An enclosed pergola or shed is great for a child’s imagination, and don’t be surprised if they transform your garden hideaway into an adult-free den.
Kids (and parents) can benefit a lot from having a little home garden. Garden games, harvesting flowers and produce, and lazy afternoons lying on the grass is the right formula for a good childhood filled with positive experiences.