We always lament that kids and teens nowadays spend a lot of time in front of computers or idling their time fiddling their phones. But shouldn’t we as parents take half of the blame? I mean, kids learn it first at home, then at school. That is why there is now a resurgence of interest in making our youngsters go back to Mother Earth. This is our own ‘Grow your Own Food’ campaign and to ensure the food that we eat as much as possible is something we have grown.
One way or another, many of us have fond childhood memories of having fun in the dirt – of helping out in the gardens. Especially if you grow up on the farm. Like us, I have fond memories of helping out my parents tending the garden, my grandparents in picking apples and grapes. Then we reminisce and share that with our children and if you live in a highly urbanized area, this is something like too provincial for your kids because they haven’t done it themselves. So why don’t you give them experience it by having a small plot in your home? If you have a small space, you can try a small box or container gardening. If you are one of the lucky ones with a large part in the backyard, then prepare to have bigger plots where you can plant.
What will your children learn from gardening? Just like having a pet, this teaches kids about responsibility, patience and of course about nature and nutrition. As child development theories would show and further backed by researchers, a child who is involved in the process plant growth or of pet care will get more self-satisfaction. Your child will be able to raise a life out of that seed and that is a learning process. Even the physical activity such as digging helps in motor as well as emotional skills.
Gardening with kids is educational and a lot of fun. Make a chart to show the development of his/her own plant, check the changes in the colors of the flowers. You can incorporate Math concepts such as measuring the flowers. You can also teach him/her basic concepts about seeds, growth, death, development and even failure. The garden is a classroom.
It is also a great chance for bonding between you and your kids. What are other tips to make gardening with kids a huge life learning experience:
1. Give your kids easy to grow fruits seeds such as squash or lettuce or flowers like petunias.
2. Make your kids feel responsible. Assign a task just for him/her. If he or she is already in school make sure that these are additional tasks that he or she should do before going to school or after coming home from school.
3. Spend time with them (like on Sunday morning) to check the progress of their gardening.
4. To give them their process fulfillment, why not make a “theme garden” such as a “pizza garden” composed of tomatoes, basil or a “garden salad” box. Then let them prepare the dish. In this sense, they will appreciate the food more since they themselves planted and prepared it.
As they grow older, let us guide them continuously in appreciating food and in the honorable work that is attached to it. They should not associate Agriculture with just calloused hands, sweat, sunburnt skin or as a lowly job, but it is an agri-cool outdoor classroom full of possibilities.
After all, haven’t we learned from that Indian saying, that we did not inherit this World, but rather we just borrowed it form our Children. And it is our responsibility to teach our children how to become good stewards. Let us work together in raising responsible stewards.
TIP: Maybe some of these delicious home grown fruits, vegetables or herbs will end up in our healthy purees for baby and the family using the Baby Bullet.