Children who get their hands in the dirt have improved moods, better learning experiences and decreased anxiety, according to this study. Gardening gets children outside, builds their connection to the natural world and increases their love of eating fruits and veggies, all while providing moderate exercise. Research has also found children who garden at school experience these benefits and even more.
A great way to help expand your child’s love of gardening is to spend time with them in the garden. There are so many fruits, vegetables and other plants you and your child can grow together. Incorporating insects and other living creatures into the garden has also been shown to make children enthusiastic to learn. Here are some ways to get picky and adventurous eaters alike excited about gardening.
Plant a vegetable garden to help picky eaters get excited about vegetables
Eating a piece of produce they’ve grown themselves has been shown to boost children’s self-esteem. Growing vegetables can make children excited about eating them. Research also shows children familiar with growing their own food not only have a higher preference for vegetables, but are more inclined to continue healthy eating habits into adulthood. Caring for vegetable crops and other plants can also teach children responsibility.
Grow a small orchard to introduce children to new fruits
Planting even one or two fruit trees is a great way for children to gain interest in fruits. Children see the tree grow, watch its flowers bloom and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Watching plants flourish teaches children to think critically and ask questions about why trees need sunlight, water or fertilizer. Tending an orchard also teaches children about cause and effect. Planting a strawberry bush in the orchard gives children a great chance to get up close to a plant and can feel the leaves at all stages of plant life.
Create a habitat garden to encourage scientific exploration
For children who are already adventurous eaters, using living creatures (like insects, birds and worms) in the garden creates wonderful learning and observing opportunities. Watching animals and insects move and live in a garden can transform an outdoor space into a hub of inquiry and scientific growth. Habitats also help children develop a respect for living things. Filling your garden with fruits, veggies and flowers will help children see and interact with butterflies, insects and birds. Introducing gentle lizards or toads to the garden can help children build a home for an animal.
Attend the Nevada School Garden Conference
School gardens build student inquiry and engage children in critical thinking and the process of forming meaningful questions. Students involved in garden programs take more pleasure in learning and show positive attitudes towards education.
Attend the Nevada School Garden Conference on April 14, 2018 at Mountain View Montessori. This year’s conference will cover:
- garden building
- curriculum integration
- using grown produce in school meals
- teaching with living creatures
- and much more!
Visit agri.nv.gov/school_garden_conference to learn more, view the agenda and register.
RMB is giving away two FREE conference registrations! To enter, tag a person who you think would be interested in the conference on the Facebook post! A winner will be randomly selected on April 7 after 5pm.
This guest post is provided by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) to support the 2018 Nevada School Garden Conference. The Nevada School Garden Conference can provide knowledge to help you grow your child’s love of learning.
Jancy Ulch is a public information intern at the Nevada Department of Agriculture. She will graduate in May with a bachelor of arts in journalism and business administration with a focus on strategic communications.