Growing a garden promotes hands-on learning

Gardening with kids provides families with numerous benefits.

Linda Boyd

Special the Tribune

Do your kids think peas come from a bag in the freezer? Do they know potatoes grow underground? Could they recognize a carrot growing if they saw the green tops poking out of the soil? A lot of parents and grandparents are realizing many of today’s children are growing up without an understanding of where their food really comes from.

Perhaps you are a seasoned gardener or maybe you are someone who has just started thinking about getting your hands dirty. Whatever your gardening experience may be, spring has sprung and now is the perfect time to think about planting and growing with your children.

I don’t have a lot of gardening experience myself, but I do try to grow a few things each year so my kids can appreciate how food is grown. Young children have a natural curiosity about the world around them and gardening is a perfect way to tie in valuable lessons like patience — as they wait for vegetables to grow, responsibility — as they take over watering duties and the value of healthy eating — as children are often more enthusiastic about trying vegetables they have grown themselves.

Gardening doesn’t necessarily require a plot of land or hours of weeding. Gardening can happen in containers on a balcony or patio.

Raised beds can eliminate the need for weeding and are great for compact spaces. Try the square foot garden method and give your child a square of their own to care for. This popular method teaches gardening skills without being overwhelming.

Watching a plant grow from a seed is like magic for young children, but slow germination rates can be trying for even the most patient child.  Plant a mixture of seeds and potted plants to help keep their interest.

Sunflowers and beans are fast growing plants from seed.  When my son was in preschool, he started a sunflower from a seed and was absolutely amazed at how tall it grew; he was so proud to share the seeds with all of his little friends.

Involving your kids in a community garden exposes them to an amazing variety of vegetables grown by many different gardeners. Kids and parents involved with community gardens also benefit from the wisdom of other gardeners. Connect with your local food action committee, community or health centre to find out if there is a community garden near you.

If you have a child in school, ask if there is interest in starting a school garden.

These websites can help you and your kids start gardening: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/firstgarden/ and http://www.kidsgardening.org/

Linda Boyd is a Community Nutritionist with Interior Health.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Tl’etinqox First Nations are awaiting word of when they will receive their second dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
‘We need the second round’: Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse questions vaccine roll-out

It’s been 42 days since Tl’etinqox First Nation members received their first dose of Moderna

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar, 88 other incidents

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

Most Read