It can be difficult to get kids to eat healthy and eat a balanced diet. Gardening is a great tool to get them to do both!
The health benefits of gardening with your children can be tremendous! Studies show that growing food increases food preparation at home and leads to an increased consumption of fresh produce.
Health Benefits of Gardening for Kids
1. Gardening encourages kids to eat healthier. A big part of the fun of gardening is to enjoy what you grow! Your kids will be more likely to try something new if they grew it themselves. Also, kids can gain a sense of pride knowing they helped grow the food feeding their family.
2. Gardening is a great way to encourage your kids to exercise without them realizing it. Gardening is a physical activity that will help your child be active. Tasks such as shoveling, digging, and raking gets kids off the couch and gets their heart rates up. Gardening skills also teach coordination and use a variety of muscles.
3. Gardening engages your child’s brain! Gardening gets kids away from electronic screens and encourages them to think throughout the process. From measuring the distance between planting seeds to digging holes the appropriate size, their brains actively engage in the process. Watching the plants grow from week to week stimulates curiosity.
4. Ideal for the soul, gardening is a great way for kids to relax. Gardening has been linked to decreasing cortisol level. We may think that only us parents feel stress, but our kids do also. Activities that give kids a way to relax and feed their souls are important.
5. Gardening with kids makes family time fun. If everyone pitches in together, picking the veggies and fruit can be an enjoyable activity instead of a chore. By gardening together, parents and kids can get quality time together. Gardening promotes team building and communications skills within families. Planting a garden and watching the seeds grow gives kids a sense of purpose and responsibility in the family.
As summer is quickly approaching, most kids will be out of school. Add weekly gardening to your list of activities and help fill the long days of summer with productive healthy interaction.
Great vegetables to plant in June include snap beans, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, and watermelon, but this can vary by the location where you live. Be sure to ask for a chart at your local nursery. They will be happy to guide you in the right direction.
AUTUMN’S TIPS: Remember to outfit yourself and your children with proper gardening hats, gloves, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen to protect the family from the sun’s rays. And always make time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your partner in health,