What does gardening teach children?

These days, it can be easy to plonk your children in front of the TV in the hope they will be quiet while you get your jobs done. Of course, there are all moments when we need to get chores completed quickly, but if you have the time, why not order plants from the likes of Ashridge Trees and introduce your kids to hobbies like gardening? Everything from planting and watering to sowing seeds and weeding can teach your little ones important life lessons, so here are just some of the things they might pick up along the way.

The fragility of nature

As we get older we start to appreciate the fragility of life and nature, but this is something we almost certainly have to learn. Gardening can help children to understand that things don’t live forever and that flowers, herbs, trees and seeds really need to be cared for properly if they’re going to survive in this world. If you’re taking care of seedlings, for instance, it’s important to explain how they should be started off in a warmer environment (particularly in winter) to give them a chance to grow without being damaged by the elements including snow, frost, strong winds and excess rain.

What’s more, if you’re growing a broad bean plant in a jar (which is an incredibly educational and popular task for children due to how quickly it sprouts) don’t forget to remind them to spray water on the bean every couple of days. This will encourage germination and teach kids that if you want something to flourish you must be consistent with your observations and care.

Patience and persistence

When children plant seeds, they might expect them to grow straight away, but of course, this isn’t going to happen. Flowers, fruit trees, vegetables, foliage and other kinds of plant often take a lot of time to poke up from the ground and this will teach children patience and persistence – after all, they will still need to make sure the seeds, cuttings or seedlings are watered every day.

If you’re wondering what’s best to plant with your kids, try growing a sunflower. When planted after the cold of spring has passed, these typically take around ten weeks to flower, although the seeds will usually sprout after two or three (so not too much time to wait). What’s more, sunflowers tend to grow at least a metre, more if you choose a giant variety and this will be extremely exciting for children to watch. Don’t forget, however, that sunflowers need at least six hours of sunlight a day, so select the sunniest part of your garden to plant them.

Cause and effect

Cause and effect is one of the biggest life lessons any child will learn and gardening is one of the best ways to teach them this in practise. Say, for example, they plant the aforementioned sunflower seed in a sunny spot and water it every day. They should find that after several weeks, the plant starts to sprout and grows taller and taller until a beautiful yellow flower opens up. If, however, your children plant a sunflower in a dark place and forget to water it every day, they might find it doesn’t germinate at all, or ends up being shorter and less attractive than it could have been.

Gardening is extremely educational, so if you have a garden or allotment, why not get out and about and teach your kids all they need to know?