Your garden is part of your home. So why not use it to teach your children about gardening, plants, and food? You could turn your garden into an educational dream by taking some very simple steps and investing a little bit of time and a small amount of money. So get your green thumbs out and get ready to get muddy!
One of the big concerns about today’s youth is the rising obesity rate. This is thought to be connected to an increased disconnect from food; where it comes from, what’s in it, and how it affects one’s body. As such, clearing a space in your garden where you can grow berries, vegetables, and potatoes is a good idea. Your child’s involvement will help them to understand their food and what they put into their bodies, which will help them to shape a healthier diet and help them understand more about what is or isn’t good for them. Ensure they get a hand in choosing what to plant, but also challenge their boundaries; they are more likely to try something they’ve had a hand in growing.
A personal gardening set with a trowel, some gloves, and other such paraphernalia can help your child feel personally involved. If you need to tackle some area in your garden that has been overrun by weeds, nettles or brambles, get them involved and they will feel further ownership of it as they have worked so hard to clear it. For younger kids, this can be as simple as throwing bits of weed into your green bin; older ones can get sweaty and the tweens can bring out lemonade and other refreshments to help everyone survive the hard work!
When you harvest your carefully-grown foods, it’s time to get cooking. Your child is of course more than welcome to try the veg raw, but cooking will further enhance a sense of togetherness with you and also foster that importance of food as a healthy substance. You can come up with any type of food and involve your child in the menu-planning; cooking a delicious home-grown meal for the family can produce an amazing sense of achievement that will keep him or her coming back for more!
Whether you plan to plant berries and fruits, or vegetables and potatoes, your garden can help your child learn about the biology of growing plants and fighting pests while it helps them form a healthy view of food as a whole and their food in the specific. Don’t let another garden go by unharvested – you could be growing for the future!