Gardening engages all of the senses and helps children to develop and recognise them without even realising. They can feel the texture of soil, seeds, flower and petals. They get to smell all the amazing flower scents and see all the vibrant colours. They can hear the vegetables when they are taken from the plant to harvest.
Gardening is a physical activity and requires the body to work hard digging, carrying, lifting, sieving, watering etc. It helps develop hand-eye coordination and builds physical strength.
As children garden, they develop important motor skills, such as handling seeds or tying in plant stems to support canes, that will help them improve their writing.
It makes sense that if you engage children in growing their own vegetables, they have a sense of pride in eating them too. Half the fun of gardening is getting to eat what you grow.
For children who are fussy eaters, trying to get them to eat healthily and enjoy it can be a struggle. Growing vegetables not only teaches them the time and effort that goes into growing them, but they also get a sense of achievement knowing they are eating food they have grown themselves.
Parents who involve children in the food preparation at home are also increasing the link between healthy lifestyles and forming positive lifelong eating habits.
Growing any plant or vegetable from a seed requires regular attention and care. Children will quickly learn that they get out what they put in. If the plants aren’t regularly watered and taken care of, they won’t flourish.
Gardening is a great way to teach responsibility, but it is not a quick process. Children will need to learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow. They must remain engaged with the process, tending to their plants even when there are no clear results. The anticipation will make the moment their flower or vegetables sprout even more exciting, even magical. This gives children a great confidence boost.
Especially in groups, gardening can be a very sociable activity. It presents wonderful opportunities for children to bond and help work together to look after and nurture their plants.
The anticipation of watching a seed you have sown push through the soil and grow into a beautiful flower or a vegetable that can then be picked and eaten is so rewarding and exciting. The process is fascinating for a child to experience.
Gardening relates to topics within the National Curriculum, such as plants, seasonal changes, animals, and health. Additionally, the activity of gardening gives children the opportunity to practice their literacy and numeracy skills through measuring and reading instructions.