Gardening is a great way to bond and share life lessons with your child. Also, how better to help her appreciate vegetables and fruits, than have her grow them in your very own home garden!
By Monali Bordoloi
"You have the chance to plant a seed of something very special in the hearts, minds, and spirits of your children as you garden together." — Cathy James, UK-based Gardening Writer
Let your child get his hands dirty.
Let him dig in the soil, plant a seed, water it carefully, and watch it grow. He will learn all about patience and how nature works. He will understand and experience the magic brought about by care, water and sunshine.
And yes, watching fruits or vegetables grow in his own little garden, can help your child gain new respect for the food he eats. So, why not start planning and planting, a little garden at home with your child?
According to Pari Berlin, creative head of a pre school that also runs gardening workshops for children in Bengaluru: “Picky eaters usually get interested in eating their vegetables if they grow them.” Through gardening workshops, Pari aims to integrate education with nature for the all-round development of children. “Gardening is a wonderful way to help children explore their creativity, use their imagination and interact with nature. Through our gardening workshops, we teach children the foundation of science, explain the different parts of a plant, how living things grow, so on," she says.
Pari believes that gardening can bring about immense changes in your child. So, how can it benefit your child? “Gardening is good for hand-eye coordination and gets your child outdoors and into a more active lifestyle. To make your child understand sensory development, you can use gardening. Feeling the texture of the soil, holding and counting seeds, discovering different varieties of flowers and counting petals — these are all learning experiences. Moreover, your child understands all about patience and responsibility by tending to plants.”
According to Puja Gurung, founder of a nature club that conducts nature-related activities across Bengaluru, gardening also gives your child insights into various subjects. "Gardening also provides a practical understanding of biology, chemistry, geography, history, nutrition and health. It is not just about planting or sowing seeds and can enhance a child's overall well-being," she stresses.
Moreover, gardening is also considered helpful for children with special needs. Puja explains it thus: "Gardening can have a calming effect on special children and those with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). It helps them de-stress and be more mindful. Plus, children who spend more time outdoors are happier, healthier, smarter, and also more creative and confident.”
So, what are you waiting for, plant a garden today! Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start:
Puja Gurung sums it up. “Children don’t need much encouragement to take up gardening. They are happy to play and dig around in the mud. But as a parent, don't be afraid of the mess and don't discourage them from exploring and making that mess! Secondly, start small. Choose fast-germinating plants so that your child doesn’t lose interest. Quick-growing greens such as methi, palak and coriander are good to start with."
Gardening, she says, is all about unleashing your child’s creativity. There is so much more that you can do, together. "Gardening doesn’t just have to be about planting and watering. Read, write and watch garden and nature-related stories, make a fairy garden, build bird feeders, place a water bowl to attract birds and insects. Go on nature walks or visit farms and parks to help your child see how different things in the natural world are connected,” adds Puja.
Want to involve your child in easy home-gardening projects? Try these activities.
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