Get Growing — Gardening Is the Best Medicine
You’ll thank yourself for teaching your kids to garden. Your kids will, too.
It’s time to get your hands dirty. Summer is here, sunshine abounds and your backyard is screaming for some attention. Yes, the season is ripe for gardening — and so are your kids. They can benefit from gardening in ways you never thought possible.
“Gardening can spur curiosity and imagination in kids,” says Wendy Hanson, master gardener program coordinator with the Washoe County and Douglas County Cooperative Extensions. “They can watch how flowers change throughout the day, learn the characteristics of plants, and of course there’s the benefit of getting outside and enjoying the earth and spending time with family.”
Most children enjoy being outdoors — digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things, watching plants grow. And with the inherent fun of being outside, kids can learn a few things and gain some new skills as they tend plants and grow their own food, such as:
- Responsibility from caring for plants
- Self-confidence from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown
- Love of nature as they learn about the outdoors in a safe and pleasant environment
- Reasoning and discovery as they learn about the science of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition and simple construction
- Physical fitness as they bend, lift, reach and dig
- Creativity by discovering new and exciting ways to grow food
- Healthy attitude toward food by learning about where fresh food comes from and how it benefits our bodies
Give children their own garden space — maybe it’s a large container, a small spot or even a few pots. Just keep it simple. To get kids interested in creating a garden, try involving them in the planning or designing of a garden space. With their love for all things dirt and mud, encourage your younger kids to make mud pies or fill up buckets of soil. Making a scarecrow, installing a water feature, setting up a worm farm or building a fairy garden are other ways to get them excited and engaged.
Remember to keep the garden safe for children. This includes selecting the right-sized tools, keeping sprays and fertilizers out of reach, and not using chemicals whenever possible.
Want to dig into some gardening fun? There are many gardening programs in northern Nevada to help you and your family get started.
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