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July 11, 2022
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July 11, 2022

School is out, gardening is in!

The July-August vacation period is here once again. When school is out, I do believe that this is an important time to teach children many skills that will enrich their life experiences.

Even if it’s at home or at summer camp, we can utilise this time in their lives to teach them about growing their own food. Research shows us that when children grow some of their own food, they develop what we call “food empathy”, a deeper connection with food, which is proven to lead to a healthier life.

Food empathetic children have better diets, eat more fruit and vegetables, and have a better understanding of food and nutrition.

Further studies suggest that gardening is educational and develops new skills including:

  • Responsibility – by caring for the plants
  • Understanding – as children can learn about cause and effect (for example, plants die without water)
  • Self-confidence – children gain this from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown
  • Love of nature – a chance for children to learn about the outdoor environment
  • Reasoning and discovery – children can learn about the science of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition, and simple construction by simple garden activities
  • Physical activity – by engaging in fun and productive activities
  • Cooperation – when children engage in group work such as harvesting, they learn the concept of teamwork
  • Creativity – finding new and exciting ways to grow food
  • Nutrition – learning about where fresh food comes from.

Gardening is also extremely therapeutic and can help your kids de-stress after a challenging school term.

If you would like to immediately plan gardening activities with your child or summer camp group, here is a list of beginner activities:

Watering plants – it is the most basic of all gardening activities. It can be easily accomplished by children of almost all ages. Get your child a cute watering can which you can easily source from any garden store and fix a time for watering each day.

Composting the soil – a fun group activity. Teach the children the process of composting soil and the significance of rich organic soil.

Build bird feeders – a simple yet fun activity. Using old plastic bottles, drill holes in them and insert food for the birds. You can have the kids decorate their own feeders. This will encourage birds to visit your garden regularly and your kids too will start appreciating nature and grow a love for birds.

Painting garden pots – this activity will encourage children in art and design and have the garden visually appealing.

For older children, you can engage them in planting trees and seedlings or even small landscaping projects.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to gardening. With the combination of fresh air, sunlight and fun, your child’s vacation will be the best yet!

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Photo by Leiliane Dutra