Gardening for Fun: Guide for Introducing the Baby to Nature
Gardening is a healthy, fun activity that can be a part of your child’s life. Spending time in the garden helps your child discover nature, build various important skills, and develop qualities like patience, responsibility, and self-confidence.
How can you involve your child in gardening safely?
Here are some things you can let your child do to feel involved in gardening:
- Make a special space for the garden and outline it by placing small stones. Let your child mark the places where they wish to plant the flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
- Allow your child to dig holes in the soil and put seeds in them.
- Show them how to hold the watering can and gently water the plants.
- Involve your child in raking (to sweep dry leaves and flowers from the ground). You can make this activity enjoyable by having a raking race or telling them to look for specific items (e.g., different-colored rocks).
- Use small child-safe scissors for harvesting. Allow your child to cut leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and flowers that have thin stems.
- Let your child wash the freshly picked vegetables or fruits in a container filled with water. Replace the water when it becomes filthy.
How does gardening benefit a child?
Benefits of gardening to children:
- Gardening enhances children’s health and wellbeing.
- It helps them to learn about the environment.
- It develops their interest in nature and introduces them to healthy foods.
- Gardening involves tasks and skills that are good for the physical development of children.
- Toddlers practice using the muscles of movement, balance, and control while carrying water, soil, and tools. They learn various fine skills, such as grasping while picking up seeds and using a rake or trowel.
- Through activities like counting the holes dug and fruits or vegetables grown, your child develops maths skills.
- Gardening also helps to build social relationships with adults. It will help you learn more about your child’s abilities and likes and dislikes and strengthen your bond with your child.
- Being outdoors allows your child to breathe fresh air. The smell of freshly cut grass, the texture of the soil, leaves, and freshly picked fruits, all promote sensory development in children.
- Gardening encourages children to eat healthy foods. When children are involved in the process of growing the food, they are more likely to try it.
- Learning the names of different plants develops your child’s language skills.
- Exploring plants helps children develop an interest in the sciences.
- Thinking through the various processes of gardening aids in brain development.
Before your begin gardening, be prepared:
- Do a quick research on what kinds of plants can be grown in that particular season.
- Choose a place that is sunny and not shady. Make sure the soil is soft enough for your child’s tools.
- Plant vegetables like tomatoes and carrots that grow easily and can be eaten by your child right away. Encourage your toddler to try a fruit or vegetable by trying one yourself.
- Choose plants that can help to develop sensory qualities in your child, such as aloe vera (touch); basil (taste); sweet peas, mint, and jasmine (smell); sunflower, and marigold (bright color).
- Be patient if your toddler picks fruits and vegetables before they ripen, breaks stems, or plant many seeds in one hole and none in another. Relax and let them enjoy the process.
- Avoid using fertilizers and chemicals.
- Store gardening tools safely and secure the fences.
- You don’t have to make a perfect garden; the goal is to allow your child to grow some plants and taste them.
- If your child does not enjoy gardening, allow them to play with water. This might capture their interest.
- Your kid will think differently. Avoid enforcing rules, and let this be a joyful experience for you and your child.
Gardening should not necessarily be every day or every-week activity. The goal of parents should be to spend time together and create memories with their children. They will follow in your footsteps, so offer them experiences where they can learn the most. Gardening helps children learn to care, nurture, and develop a positive relationship with nature. So, plant a garden with your kids and watch them grow!