Remember that Lima bean experiment you did in school with the wet paper towel? You got to watch over time the roots grow and the bean start to sprout into a plant. Other than that one tiny bean I don’t recall any sort of gardening or growing of food education when I was in school. There are some schools now that have programs for this but most do not.
Chances are you have at least one place that you remember as a kid, which was outside, that you liked to go to. Maybe it was a relative’s garden, or the woods behind your friend’s house, a shady spot in your backyard, or even the local farmer’s market. I remember a friend of the family had an old plantation. In his backyard was a small bush lined maze with four pockets. Inside were things like a birdbath, or a fruit tree, or different kinds of plants, but walking through there just transported me to somewhere else when I was younger. You can make a small magical area for your kids in your own yard. Don’t stop reading if you think your yard is too small or you don’t have the area that would be needed. Even window plants, porch plants, indoor gardens, and other small areas can work.
(Results may vary, fairy not included in all gardens, not typical outcome)
With STEM education still on the rise learning environmental science can never start early enough. Getting firsthand experience with nature and watching things grow can give your child an educational boost in the science department. Also getting kids outside and working in a garden starting at a young age will make them less likely to become couch potatoes. Childhood obesity is no joke and is still, even with all the great resources out there, a major problem. If your child starts to appreciate the outdoors and everything they have to offer you can probably avoid this problem. They will be getting physical exercise while gardening and learn a sense of responsibility. If you are growing fruits and vegetables then learning good nutrition and becoming interested in eating these natural foods will also create healthier children.
On top of everything, and maybe most importantly, you will bond. You will start something that you and your children do together that will become almost a tradition. Something they will remember and (hopefully) keep up into their teen years when they are the hardest to reach.
Another huge plus to gardening and growing foods with your children is improving their self-esteem. Some signs your child may be experiencing low self-esteem can range from not trying new tasks, cheating at games or on tests, becoming withdrawn, being oversensitive of other’s feelings about them, and even trying to be too helpful at home. Gardening can instill responsibility and also give them a sense of pride. They can show off what they have done and say “I made that grow”.
Even though we do not want to cheat per se I found a great list of plants which are easier to grow. Seeing the end product and their plants be successful can be crucial to keeping their interest in gardening alive, especially in the beginning. There are also ideas for indoor and potted plants. I am not a gardening expert by any means. If I can figure this out so can you.
Now that you have read all that I am going to say I am not a gardener by trade. I was not raised to garden. It’s not something that comes naturally to me but it’s something I’ve always been interested in. I hope that I can learn more about it while my daughter is learning at the same time. I know we will have to go slow and learn bits and pieces because there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye. If you know someone who is an avid gardener get them to help! More than likely they will be very willing to share their expertise with you.