Writing exclusively for MediaBrief, Vinayak Garg, Founder, Lazy Gardener, shares how gardening as a learning activity for children can foster their physical, mental, and emotional development. How it helps them in developing values and habits and why you should start young.
Vinayak is an ex-IITian and has more than a decade of experience building apps in the health and education sectors. His venture Lazy Gardener aims to provide innovative and easy gardening solutions to urban gardeners.
He was among the 12 fellows chosen under the Gurukul program (2008), run by H.H. Dalai Lama’s foundation. He spent two months in the monastery of H.H. Dalai Lama, and it marked the start of his journey into mindfulness, meditation and, exploring spirituality.
Gardening for young children? Why not! People often regard gardening as an activity only for the adults or the elders. But that is a misconception. A lot of studies have shown that introducing your kids to gardening at a young age can actually foster their physical, mental, and emotional development.
So, for children, getting their hands dirty while preparing the potting mix, repotting the saplings, or just loosening up the topsoil is pretty productive and learning-oriented after all!
In all, young children are highly and probably the most impressionable. Most of the learning in this period becomes the foundation of their future beliefs and habits. Gardening at this point can really become a learning activity for most of their important lessons and that too in a fun and exciting way!
It helps the young ones develop values and habits like healthy eating, taking responsibility, caring, understanding, cooperation, creativity, and a lot more.
Starting Young: Why you should let kids help you in gardening
Gardening requires a lot of care. From watering the plants, to regularly adding nutrition to the soil from time to time, it requires setting up a routine to maintain healthy and beautiful growth.
Involving children in such practices, therefore, helps them develop a sense of responsibility. They learn to devote their time and energy responsibly while taking care of their garden. This is an important lesson they’ll definitely make use of throughout their life!
Creating environmental stewards
Keeping the young children engaged in gardening helps them get closer to Mother Nature. They learn how to care for and respect natural resources. Gardening teaches them the importance of water, soil, care, and space.
In addition to making them better and responsible individuals, it also creates in them a sense of belonging to the environment. This connection may help them become kinder and more empathetic in their conduct.
Once you get into this healthy practice of gardening, you start to see the output of your efforts really soon. It may be that new bud, new leaf unfolding, new roots developing, or simply the new look that may show you your results.
For children engaged in gardening, enjoying this growth in plants boosts their self-confidence. If it is the veggies they have grown, they might even have a great time enjoying their self-grown food too!
It is not just watering or seeding or putting the plants into the soil. It is much more! Gardening is a science and art. Like every other form, it too utilizes the creativity of the gardener.
You can encourage the growth of your plants onto a particular shape of the fence, or trim it in a way that brings out the shapes in your mind or maybe even prepare bonsai plants very creatively.
Learning while doing all of this, children often discover their creative sides and who knows what heights their creativity can lead them up to!
A dose to their curiosity
Gardening is a science and that too a full-grown well equipped one. There are tools, methods, and techniques to guide you while you enjoy taking care of your plants.
Working with tools and techniques often makes the children curious about what are they used for, how do they use them, or what to do and what to avoid.
Also, they learn the essence of curiosity when they passionately wait for the seeds to grow up, new leaves to turn up or unfold, new nodes popping out, or even the flowers turning themselves into the fruits and vegetables that they so passionately eat.
With the advent of modern technology, people of all ages have had an inclination towards using their electronic devices for most of their entertainment needs. Young children too are not far from this.
But amidst this, gardening comes to aid as an interesting way of promoting physical activity even among the young ones. Plus, they also get to spend quality time along with the other gardeners in their families or neighborhoods.
So, just like us aren’t you excited to introduce more and more children to this healthy habit? That’s so great! We thank you for making the world greener, more beautiful, and obviously a better place to live.
The next time you’re out there checking out on your plants or just talking to them or see some children repotting the plants, don’t forget to feel happy about your contribution to nature.