Gardening has always been a passion of mine, deeply rooted in my upbringing in a small village where self-sustainability was a way of life. I followed my parents and grandparents daily to the fields where my love for gardening developed; particularly the joy of harvesting fruit like strawberries, peaches, and raspberries. As a father of two myself, teaching my children the same values and appreciation for this activity became a priority for me.

The Benefits of Gardening with Children

Engaging in gardening activities with your children is beneficial for countless reasons. Foremost, it serves as an excellent opportunity for quality family bonding. It’s a chance to teach them about the natural world, including the lifecycle of plants and the importance of nurturing our environment. This knowledge, I believe, will prove indispensable in the decades to come as self-sufficiency gains renewed importance.
Gardening also promotes health and wellness. It encourages an appreciation for outdoor activity while soaking up a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun, breathing in fresh air, and engaging in physical exercise. Additionally, it can also offer a unique form of stress relief that can benefit you as a parent and your children. While we adults appreciate gardening as an escape from our daily pressures, children, too, although seemingly less burdened by life’s stresses, can find peace and a sense of accomplishment participating in this activity.

Starting Your Gardening Journey

Beginning a gardening project, even in places such as cities where you may be living somewhere where you only have access to a windowsill or small backyard, is still easier to achieve than you may think. The first step is assessing the available space. Whether you’re working with ground plots or small pots, the essentials remain the same: soil, seeds, and a little bit of planning. My children have always shown a particular interest in growing fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, sweet peas, and tomatoes.

The process doesn’t have to be complex. I typically start by gathering all necessary tools and supplies. Then, I assign each child a small section of our garden or a specific pot, giving them the independence to manage their own section. They enjoy layering organic materials such as rocks, wood chips, compost, adding soil, and planting seeds. It keeps them occupied and focused. Following the initial planting, they take on the responsibility, with my guidance, of watering and caring for their plants on a regular basis.

The Educational Part

Involving children in gardening educates them about where their food comes from and instils a sense of responsibility and pride in what they can grow and harvest themselves. It’s a learning experience that combines practical skills with lessons in patience and perseverance, all while nurturing a deeper connection with nature.

By integrating gardening into your family’s routine, you’re laying the groundwork for lifelong habits of sustainability, health, and appreciation for the environment. It’s a journey that’s as rewarding for the parent as it is for the child, full of discoveries, challenges, and, ultimately, the joy of growth.

The Exhausting Part

It is challenging for small children to understand that they are responsible for something that relies on them. I usually overplay it; I create a fuss about it, treating tasks like watering the plants as big events, making it easier to get them involved. It also takes countless explaining sessions to make them understand why they must do that daily. They often said, “Daddy, I don’t want to do that, I want to do something else,” but once we are out and doing it, they always find something outside to be happy about. A small rock, a bug, a butterfly… It’s just so cool watching their eyes widen when they see something new.

Summary

It can be challenging for small children to fully understand that they are responsible for something that relies on their care. In order to allow them to better comprehend the importance of taking care of the plants, I will usually overplay them, making the tasks seem like significant events throughout the week. This makes it easier for the children to get into a routine. They may be resistant some days to want to go and fulfil the tasks. However, I have found that in my personal experience once we are doing a task, the children always find something to be happy about: a small rock, a bug, a butterfly etc. It is often satisfying as a parent seeing them enjoy something new, that also benefits them and the environment.

About Us:

Flatstone Grove is all about teaching young children about the world in a playful way, using nature as a brilliant vice to do so. We recognized the need for an app tailored to young children that can give them a better understanding of the world. Everything we’ve done in Flatstone Grove is centred around the Early Years Foundation Stages, focusing on understanding emotions and the world around them in a fun natural environment. By downloading Flatstone Grove, you are a step closer to benefiting your child’s development.

Thank you!