Now that the snow is melting and February is behind us, it’s a good time to start thinking about your lawn and garden again. After spending all winter inside, a little fresh air will do everyone some good, and you can enlist the whole family to help.
Landscaping might sound like a chore, but with the right approach, you can get your kids excited about helping in the yard. The best part? They’re going to learn a thing or two in the process.
1. A Little Work Can Go a Long Way
Gardening is one of the few activities that illustrates synergy with tangible results. For example, you need soil, water and seeds to plant tomatoes. With enough sunlight and a little TLC, you could have snaking vines running up a stake in a matter of weeks–the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!
This concept is hard to demonstrate on paper, but when kids experience it firsthand by munching on crisp, fresh green beans, they learn and appreciate the value of hard work. BetterHealthChannel reminds parents that gardening encourages self-discipline and responsibility, which are qualities that impact other aspects of life, as well.
2. Cooperation Is Key
You don’t need a huge backyard to start a family garden. If you don’t have the space to give everyone their own small plot, start with potted plants, and let everyone pick a few items that they want to grow.
The great thing about gardening is you can make it both an individual and a group activity.For example, if each of your kids wants to plant something different, coordinate so you can use the harvest in a single dish at the end of the summer. One child could plant butternut squash for ravioli while another could plant lettuce and tomatoes for a tasty side salad.
By planning the meal in advance, you’ll know exactly when to plant each item so you can harvest them at the same time. It will also give the kids something to look forward to, and they’ll likely help each other to ensure they have everything they need for the special meal.
3. Math and Science Extend Beyond the Classroom
There are countless ways you can use a garden to illustrate basic mathematical and scientific principles. For example, if you’re working in a limited space, your children can help measure out the plots for each group of seeds and learn about spatial awareness and basic geometry in the process. And once the plants start taking root, they’ll be able to witness the different life cycles of certain plants firsthand.
Kids are visual learners, and gardening is a great way to demonstrate some of the more complicated scientific concepts. If you have the space, try to plant a few flowers that you can use purely for learning purposes. Sunflowers, for example, can grow to be fairly large, and their roots, stem and leaves make it easy to see the different processes that occur as plants grow. They also produce lots of seeds, which can be a tasty family treat once autumn comes!