How Gardens for Kids Inspire Learning
Seeds can be used to grow flowers, plants, and food. They can be roasted, eaten raw, or cracked open. They can also be used as a metaphor, something like: “planting a seed is like instilling wisdom, you need to cultivate it and nurture it if you want it to grow.” I just made that up. This is the best time of year to get a garden started, and it also provides a great learning opportunity for kids. Below are five reasons why you should start a garden with your child.
1. Teach Science/Botany
Introducing your kids to seeds is a great way to show how flowers and plants are formed in a fun experiment. All you’ll need is a few beans, a plastic bag, a wet paper towel and a sunny place.
You can also use this interactive game from our Activity Center to learn how plants are classified.
2. Visiting Gardens
Gardening used to be a means to survive. Humans as a species learned to garden, and were then no longer considered nomads. Gardens have come a long way since then. Today, gardening can be considered an art form and a profession. You can learn about the Master Gardner program, or visit the link below to read about famous gardens near you.
3. There’s More Than One Way to Garden
Some people may get intimidated by the thought of a garden. They don’t have the space, they don’t have the right kind of soil, they don’t know how to grow crops. But gardens come in many forms. There are gardens that easily attach to a window sill, and some plants don’t even need sunlight or soil to grow. If you are looking for a real challenge you could even build a butterfly garden.
You can also use this interactive game from our Activity Center to learn how plants thrive in different environments.
4. Fresh Food!
If your child grows fruits or vegetables, they will literally get to reap what they sow. Having fresh fruits, vegetables, or seasoning will allow your child to stay motivated with their gardening.
5. Ideas for Various Age Levels
Younger: Beans and seasoning. If you have the space for beans, it is very easy for kids to get them started using the activity above. If you are working with a smaller space, you can start by growing parsley or basil in your home.
Middle: Create some space in your backyard garden and have your child experiment with planting flowers, fruits, or vegetables.
Older: Getting kids involved in a community garden can be a great way for kids to stay active in their community.
For example, this K12 student won the Nickelodeon Halo Award when he created an Urban Garden.
Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC by 2.0
Peter Spain is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a manager at K12. A graduate from George Mason University, Peter has worked for several years in the education and entertainment industry. He strives to make learning fun for children by contributing to the games and activities section of the site, and keeping an eye out for advancements in edutainment.