Spring is full of new life – from the colorful plants we see popping up on the side of the road to the fresh fruits and vegetables we find at our local farmer’s market, the world around us is getting back its lost color. While it certainly has its share of precipitation, this season is guiding us into brighter days ahead and teaching us that, like plants, we need both sunny and rainy days to grow into the best versions of ourselves! Why not take this time to teach your child valuable life skills by planting and caring for a garden of your own?
Building Character by Tending to a Garden
While helping a seed or seedling grow is not easy, the rewards often outweigh the work we put in. By tending to a garden with your child, you are not only helping them bring valuable science concepts to life but also teaching them responsibility, growing their confidence and giving them opportunities to practice patience and overcome setbacks.
From planting the seed and watering the seedling to ensuring the plant gets enough sun and even protecting your garden from potentially harmful weather or plant-damaging pests, a gardener is responsible for the health and wellness of their garden! Depending on the types of fruits, flowers or vegetables you choose, growing a successful garden can require a lot of attention and provide great lessons in low-risk responsibility for children.
An article from PBS explains that gardening can provide time for meaningful family connection, give kids a sense of purpose, foster mindfulness and even boost self-esteem! When children harvest what they have worked so hard to grow, it can elevate their confidence and inspire them to continue pouring love and time into their interests.
While growth may show up little by little, day by day, remind your child what their hard work and patience will lead to – a beautiful bouquet to proudly display or homegrown snacks to share with family and friends! When they see the results of the weeks spent caring for their plants, they’ll begin to understand the common saying “good things take time.”
In addition to waiting for plants to grow, young gardeners must be willing to adapt when facing challenges. Is a neighborhood bunny snacking on your harvest, or is your area experiencing a stretch of time without rain? Help your child brainstorm ways to tackle these common gardening problems and encourage them to keep trying even if their first attempt is not a success.
Bringing Essential Skills to Life
Are you ready to help your child build some of these awesome life skills but aren’t sure where to start? Check out our gardening STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities or grab an inspiring book to get you in the right frame of mind.
Create Coffee Compost
Composting coffee grounds can help reduce waste by repurposing something that would typically end up in a landfill and giving it another useful life – as plant fertilizer that will help your harvest grow larger and stronger! This STEM activity will help you craft your very own compost pile.
Carve Out Space to Grow
Finding the space and selecting a variety of plants that will grow effectively in your area can feel like a daunting task. Start small by trying out your green thumb with this STEM activity that explains how to build a mini greenhouse and grow a small bean or pea plant using common household items.
Do Your Research
Take some time to gauge your child’s interest in gardening and build up their knowledge before you get to work. One book you may want to explore is “We Are the Gardeners” by Joanna Gaines. This story brings you into the Gaines family’s gardening journey by explaining the basic steps to growing plants, and encouraging readers to persist despite obstacles and learn from mistakes.
Keep Learning and Growing!
Check out our blog for more ways to bring STEM learning to life for your child.