Gardening is much more than just a hobby, it can be an activity that provides valuable lessons for both kids and adults alike. Yes, you can actually learn lessons from the garden about relationship building, patience, and perseverance to get through challenging times.
Humans have been gardening for a really long time. We have been planting things since ancient times; from the Sumerians growing wheat in 6000 BC to the Romans establishing vineyards throughout Europe. Hopefully, humans have learned a lot of stuff along the way!
Not only does gardening provide food for nutrition and enjoyment, but it teaches us how to work together as families or teams. It helps bring out our unique skill sets to foster strong relationships with one another.
Want to bond with your spouse or create memorable moments with your children? Take time this season and reap all of the rewards that come along with gardening.
I am not a master gardener, a homeschooling mom, or a trained teacher. I just know the joy of spending time in the garden. There are many things that I did wrong. I also got a few things right. And I learned a few life lessons along the way that I hope my children learned with me.
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Life Long Lessons From a Lima Bean
I grew up with a garden in the backyard but was never very interested in it. The first time as an adult that I grabbed my shovel to plant something outside was when my son came home from preschool with his tiny sprouted Lima bean in a plastic cup. He was so proud of what he had grown that I knew we had to nurture it and see what happened.
Sadly, we never did get any Lima beans off that plant but a new hobby was born that both of my children have learned to enjoy. Even as college kids, I see hints of their gardening interest still.
From my son’s avocado tree on my back patio (that he grew from an avocado pit in his bedroom) to my daughter’s volunteer work with the elementary school’s garden club, I like to think that the garden lessons they learned at home will live with them for the rest of their lives.
So, if you are thinking of starting a garden, just do it. No planning is necessary. Just dig that first hole and open your mind to the possibilities.
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Valuable Life Lessons From The Garden
You don’t need formal garden lesson plans to teach your children about gardening. And no one is ever too old to stop learning. So open your mind, grab your kids and a few seeds, and dig in!
Gardening requires regular care and attention, teaching kids the importance of being responsible for their plants’ well-being.
Through trial and error, we learn the importance of being proactive. Planting seeds, waiting for new growth, nurturing our growing plants, and then delighting, at the end of our harvest. The results of our hard work provide a road map to understanding the power of diligence when we tackle future projects.
For example, it takes responsibility to remember to water correctly and diligently monitor plants for signs of pests. Gardening allows us to experience and appreciate both successes and consequences. If we choose not to weed, then the weeds take over the garden space and our harvest will suffer for it. Responsibility is part of every step along the way.
Gardening can be one of the most rewarding activities one can engage in, but it also takes an impressive amount of patience and dedication.
There are lessons from the garden to be learned while watching plants grow, over days and weeks, that make tending to a garden feel like much more than hard labor. Waiting for those first flowers to bloom is like waiting for a watched pot of water to boil! But the beauty of those blooms is well worth the wait.
Whether it’s a reminder of the importance of taking our time with something or understanding that we cannot always expect to see overnight results, the process of planting and caring for a garden can help us learn patience.
And for adults, gardening with kids can be its own lesson in patience. Because they are not always easy to garden with! Who knew plants could be such an insightful teacher?
Science and math
Gardening offers a unique way for young people to apply their classroom science and math knowledge in the real world.
From learning about soil pH levels and discovering beneficial insects to exploring nutrition by examining how plants obtain nutrients from dirt – there is no limit to what kids can discover outdoors!
Plus, with a child’s magnifying lens or mini microscope they may even be able to observe worms and garden microbiota up close. Our gardens are teeming with biology and math opportunities if you know where (and how) to look for them.
The key to teaching kids about the science and math of the birds and the bees is to make it fun. Let them help you compost your fruit scraps. Show them how to use a hammer and measuring tape as you build a raised bed.
Let your kids set up a small market stand in the driveway to earn money and learn about addition and subtraction as they sell their harvest to friends and neighbors.
Growing fruits and vegetables in the garden can teach kids about the importance of eating a healthy diet.
From understanding where their food comes from to learning the importance of consuming a variety of colors and textures – gardening is a great way for kids to learn about nutrition.
Seeing home-grown vegetables in action can be a powerful motivator for children when it comes to making better food choices! Not only that but there’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly picked produce.
Gardening can even be an opportunity to explore different cultures and cuisines.
Gardening can help kids learn about the importance of reducing waste, reusing resources, and recycling materials.
From upcycling materials for new garden beds to learning about organic pest management methods, gardening is a great way to encourage sustainable living.
For example, kids can collect rainwater for their plants, use composting techniques on kitchen scraps, and get creative with my DIY upcycled garden markers. Every little sustainability lesson is a win for the environment!
Gardening allows children to express themselves creatively by designing and arranging their gardens.
From choosing the right plants to creating eye-catching containers, gardening offers a great way to get creative. It’s also an outlet for kids to learn how to plan and problem-solve through trial and error.
Plus, they can discover new ways to bring nature indoors by using natural elements like stones, bark chips, and moss in their works of art.
All these elements combined make gardening a great way to learn how to be creative while being respectful of the environment.
Gardening teaches kids to identify and solve problems, such as how to deal with pests, weeds, and plant diseases.
From controlling pests with natural ingredients to finding the right soil amendments for a struggling garden, you AND your kids can develop your problem-solving skills.
They’ll also learn how to strategize and come up with solutions, as well as how to think practically about any gardening issue that arises.
Gardening with parents or siblings teaches kids about working together to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s helping their parents in the garden or creating a plan with their siblings, kids can learn to collaborate and cooperate.
Not only that but gardening can also be a great opportunity for family bonding and quality time together.
From digging around in the dirt to harvesting home-grown vegetables, there are plenty of exciting activities that will help bring your family closer together.
Gardening provides an opportunity for kids to learn about outdoor skills such as digging, planting, and watering.
These are all important activities that will help kids develop their motor skills, as well as teach them invaluable lessons about nature and the environment. From fine motor skills, as they prune suckers off a tomato plant to strength building from pushing a wheelbarrow full of dirt, kids and adults will both benefit from time spent in the garden.
Appreciation of nature:
Gardening encourages children to appreciate and connect with nature and the environment around them.
From learning about the natural lifecycle of plants to understanding how their actions impact the environment, kids can gain a greater appreciation for the outdoors and its inhabitants.
Plus, it’s a great way for everyone to get off their screens and explore nature – even if it’s from their own backyard!
Want More Lessons From The Garden For Kids? Try These Printables:
If you want to teach your children more about pollinators, the environment, and science, I encourage you to check out my Etsy shop and purchase a few printables for kids that might help. Here are just a few lessons your kids can enjoy:
- Kid’s Nature Journal: This is a great nature activity for your kids. It uses creative thinking and writing skills and encourages exploration of nature and the environment.
- Water Cycle Printable Activity for Kids: Teach your children about the water cycle as you water your garden. This printable includes vocabulary, sorting, word search, matching games, tracing activity, Water Cycle I-Spy, a coloring sheet, and a water cycle booklet.
- Honey Bee Printable Worksheets: There are loads of lessons from the garden about pollinators. With this printable honey bee activity pack, you can encourage a love of honey bees while teaching math, colors, the alphabet, and fine motor skills.
As I reflect back on the years I spent gardening, I remember a lot of frustration, however, the life of a gardener is so much fun, too. Whether your dream is a yard full of flowers or a bounty of food you can harvest through spring, summer, and fall… if you can dream it, you can grow it.
And as you nurture your garden of fruit and veggies, there are many opportunities to teach a few life lessons to your kids. Maybe you fail to harvest a single tomato. Maybe life throws you a drought and you learn to be grateful for a day of rain. Or, maybe all you find in your plot of dirt is peace and a few moments to regain some mental energy for the rest of the day. Whatever you find out there. It’s worth the time spent.
And if you don’t have space for a garden in your yard, look for a community garden in your town or country. They usually charge a small fee but it is well worth the impact that garden will have on you and your children’s lives.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.