Produce much more than fruit and vegetables out of the family garden

Growing a garden can be both fruitful and educational. In the garden, children can learn many things.

First, when you start with tilling the land, children gain large motor skills because the tiller is a big machine to move around. Talk to your child about why the land should be tilled. Explain that the hard ground is not conducive to growth. Younger children can also help by using a small shovel to turn over some dirt.

Next, allow your child to participate in digging the rows for the garden. This will teach your child measurement and space. Planting the seeds will give your child an opportunity to practice fine motor skills while dropping the seeds into the ground. After you plant the sees, apply water and explain to your child that seeds will grow with both water and sun.

You can find many lessons in the garden as the seeds begin to sprout. Children can learn that some seeds sprout faster while others take a longer time. Some sprouts will be big and grow very fast, like beans, while other beans might take a bit longer or stay short like radishes. A fun idea might be to use this lesson as a comparison to people.  Some are tall, some are short, some seeds sprout faster just like some people learn faster. Some grow slower or learn differently. Then explain that all types of seeds (people) are needed to make a beautiful garden (world).

The garden also contains plenty of math lessons. How deep do the seeds need to be planted? How far apart should the rows be from one another? How many seeds should be in one row?

Weeding provides another opportunity to learn. Help your child determine what seedlings are plants and which are weeds. Explain why you pull weeds out.

As the plants grow, tell your child how the flowers will grow to become fruit or vegetables. Explain that some plants like watermelons or pumpkins have larger flowers than other plants like cherry tomatoes. Compare root plants like potatoes, onions, beets and carrots with flowering plants. Why do some grow above the ground while others grow below?

During harvest time, children will learn how to appreciate the fruits of their labor, literally. When a plant is watered and nurtured it will produce vegetables or fruit. Teach your child how to gently pick peas off the vine without taking apart the plant. Show your child how to pick or dig up the root vegetables.

Finally, allow your child to participate in cleaning the fruit or vegetable and trying the different flavors. Which items from the garden are sweet?  Which are crispy?  Which taste good? Which are juicy?

From math skills to motor skills and teaching patience, a garden can provide many lessons for your little one.  An added bonus is your family will eat healthy as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. Consider the importance of a growing a garden for your family.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2013

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