Gardening with Kids

August 04, 2018

Quote of the Week

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." --Alfred Austin

Gardening With Kids: How It Affects Your Child's Brain, Body And Soul

For parents struggling to find ways to encourage their kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet, gardening can be an important tool. The much bigger return is how planting a garden can affect not only your child’s body but also their brain and soul. The wonder of seeing a garden grow may spark your kids to ask questions like: Why do the plants need sun? How does the plant “drink” water? Why are worms good for the plants? Soon you will be talking about soil composition, photosynthesis and more!

Once you harvest your produce, think of all the brain-building vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients your kids will be eating and how that will continue to boost brain development. When children participate in gardening, the fruits and vegetables that they are inspired to eat will no doubt have a positive effect on their body. But the act of gardening itself can also promote a healthy body.

Planning a garden, planting the seeds and watching them grow give kids a sense of purpose and responsibility."  There is no substitute for the joy of watching children eat food that they have nurtured and grown themselves. This week's featured article by Nimali Fernando, MD/MPH, describes the myriad benefits of gardening with children, which are echoed by this mom's blog on the top seven reasons why kids should garden, and also includes a wonderful list of relevant children's book titles.

Reading Corner

Title: Growing Vegetable Soup
By: Lois Ehlert
Ages: 3 and up

We loved this book years ago and enjoyed the recipe for vegetable soup at the end!  
"Dad says we are going to grow vegetable soup." So begins Lois Ehlert’s bright, bold picture book about vegetable gardening for the very young. The necessary tools are pictured and labeled, as are the seeds (green bean, pea, corn, zucchini squash, and carrot). Then the real gardening happens . . . planting, weeding, harvesting, washing, chopping, and cooking! In the end? "It was the best soup ever." Ehlert’s simple, colorful cut-paper-style illustrations are child-friendly, as is the big black type. A recipe for vegetable soup tops it all off!" -Publishers

Be the Change

Plant a garden with your child using tips from this article.  Share your harvest with neighbors and friends and invite other children to share in the process.  I have fond memories of a neighbor's four-year old child who had her first taste of fresh peas in my backyard vegetable patch. Her mother said she had always refused to eat peas, and now she is growing her own!