I love how my kids look forward to their gardens every spring. It’s a fun family activity and is great for them to have something to continuously nurture throughout the gardening season. If you don’t have garden space, use pots or barrels. Get creative. No excuses 🙂
Gardening is therapeutic and meditative for both young and old – it lowers stress and teaches you to be in the moment. Being exposed to nature impacts our health and wellbeing. Just being outside in nature, surrounded by flowers and smells and listening to birds is enough sensory pleasure to send anyone’s stress soaring away. (Though, don’t think you’re completely off the hook. I had one child acting ‘inappropriately’ when we gardened last weekend but nothing that sending them indoors for a little cool down won’t clear up). Hospital studies have shown exposure to nature and gardens even simply through windows, or from a plant in a room can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. When you garden, give yourself and your kids lots of time and try focusing on the sights, sounds, smells, and those around you (if you have little helpers). The first day we gardened this year my 9 yr old son didn’t even start his garden because he got carried away in a meditative zone, weeding all afternoon (and this is a boy who likes action).
DID YOU KNOW?
Light gardening and other yard work is considered medium to high intensity exercise which burns plenty of calories in an hour. I say this often, get up or get out and move… we always fall into thinking the only way to get fit is in a gym but this is not true. And, I always find getting fit outside in nature to be the best motivator and most likely way to stay at it.
gardening for kids
A few things to help your gardening experience run smoothly and be a success:
• go to a gardening store and let them pick out their own plants
• depending on how much weeding is required and whether you think they will want to weed, weed some or all prior to your kids gardening; though, I believe they should be involved in at least some of the weeding as kids find it satisfying preparing their space
• set them up with small chairs or stools (tot spot brand are the best – comfortable for adults too – do a search for used ones on ebay or craigslist/kijiji as I can’t find any stores that sell them new, see photo)
• kids watering cans and gardening tools
• have them in charge of the hose, spraying or filling up watering cans
• bug spray (will link my homemade spray once it’s posted this week)
• sunscreen and hats
Here’s a little 101 on the steps your kids can follow. I’ve outlined details in the following image gallery captions:
Your kids will not only develop knowledge and an understanding for caring for living things and creating healthy living environments, but will have these memories for life. Enjoy!