1. They’ll have the chance to see that food isn’t just “born” at the store.
2. It’s a great opportunity to get them to try new things!
3. They get to see that bees only purpose is not stinging people. You can talk about why you need bees for your garden.
4. Butterflies! Just today, my kids ran around with butterflies while trying to catch them in a net. Since I knew they wouldn’t catch them, I just let them run and run with at least four different types of butterflies that were by our garden in less than a 20 minute period.
5. Helps them to have pride in their work — I know that my kids are always more pleased when we are able to pick produce off of a plant that they helped to plant.
6. Responsibilty — Depending on your kids ages, they could be responsible for making sure the garden is watered.
7. Generosity — Sometimes you just have too much of a certain type of produce. Let your kids learn the benefits of giving by giving away excess produce to friends, family, and neighbors. In our area, there are even some of the food pantries for the less fortunate that will let you bring in extra produce from your garden to put in the lobby.
8. Cooking lessons — They can learn how to prepare things that you might not normally want them to make because of high costs. When you have pounds and pounds of strawberries, you can teach them to make freezer jam, whereas you might not want to spend so much money on enough strawberries at the grocery store.
9. It gives you the perfect excuse to start a composting bin (compost bins can be made inexpensively). With this, your kids can learn about decompostion of vegetable matter, and you can even help them to understand why it’s better for that banana peel to go in the compost bin rather than a plastic trash bag.
10. If you teach them how to garden, you will be giving them a gift that will just keep giving. As they grow older, they can help their children to appreciate gardening, etc. (Of course, you could also get to the point that they want nothing to do with gardening when they are older. But, let’s look at the positive side, shall we?)
11. They need some time away from electronic games and gadgets.
12. Starting some plants from seeds will give them an even greater sense of accomplishment, and it’s a great science lesson. Imagine their delight when they look outside to see the tall tomato plant with a bounty of red fruit on it, and to know that they helped it grow from a tiny seed.
13. It helps to connect them to the past. My kids get excited when we have read from books like the Little House series and they recognize things that we have done too. There is comfort, I think, in feeling that you are in the present and that you can look to the future, but also, that you feel a connection to the past.
This was originally posted at Many Little Blessings on July 30, 2008.
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