Gardening is fun for children and at the same time, they gain important knowledge and skills. They learn about the different plants and what a plant needs to grow. They also learn about different cycles, seasons weather, flowers, fruits and vegetables, insects, birds, wildlife, mini beasts, and about science and scientific concepts. Gardening is the ultimate hands-on botany lesson!
For urban children, gardening and planting can offer a connection to nature, caring for a plant and nurturing it, develops a positive relationship with nature.
For some children, is this maybe their first experience to care for a living thing. To care for a plant teaches children responsibility and also respect for all living things. Their social skills will be developed, by working with other children and adults; children learn important life skills, such as cooperating and sharing ideas.
To plant vegetables with children can be a great way to introduce young children to where food comes from and also encourages children to eat fruits and vegetables which lead to a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Gardening helps to develop children’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and also promotes their gross motor skills by activities like digging, raking, shoveling, watering and pushing a wheelbarrow etc.
When gardening children experience things firsthand and participate in an active learning. Hands-on activities are important for children’s learning and children learn best by doing, not by watching.
A garden is like a science lab, with a myriad of topics and scientific concepts to discover. What does the plant need to grow? Why do the plants need sun? How does the plants “drink”water? Do the plants need food? Does the plants breathe? The life cycle of plants, soil composition, photosynthesis and more!
Photosynthesis an interaction between man and nature!
All that is living needs energy. Energy is food. Plants need food and they make their own food in their leaves by a chemical process called the Photosynthesis.
For small children we can explain the Photosynthesis by telling a little story about the Chef Chlorophyll. Every leaf has small kitchen and in the kitchen works Chef Chlorophyll and he cooks food for the plants. The dish he cocks is sugar (glucose). He mixes water, water he gets from the roots with air (carbon dioxide) that he has stored in his kitchen and cocks it on his stove (the sun). The smoke from the cooking goes out from the leaf, towards a chimney (stomata) into the air. The smoke from the chimney (oxygen) is the air people and animals breathe. When the autumn comes chef Chef Chlorophyll close down his kitchen and move down to the roots with all other chefs. The chefs are resting and waiting in the roots for the spring to come. The leaf kitchens are closed during the winter, but when spring comes the chefs will reopen them again.
To start a veggie and flower gardening project with children.
To visit the local vegetable and flower market is a good way to start the project. Stroll around among the market stands and ask the children if they know the names of some of the flowers and vegetables they see in the marketplace, which vegetables they have eaten etc.
To empower the children, involve them in the planning of the garden and let them have a say about which plants and vegetables to chose.
If you do not have enough space for a garden, you can grow flowers and vegetables in containers.
Almost any vegetable that can be grown in a garden will work well as a container-grown plant.
You can mix new and recycled containers to plant in.
Some plants are toxic for children so they should be avoided in a child-friendly garden, make sure that plants and seeds used with children not are poisonous or coated with a pesticide.
Try to find real garden tools that are in a child friendly size.
By planting, nursing, harvesting and eating the vegetables they have grown, children learn about where food comes from and develop healthy eating habits.
Planting, growing and caring for plants teaches children everything from basic skills to bigger concepts of life.
Download Playtime Seychelles storybook as PDF
Download some funny experiments to do with children!