When I was 4 years old, my parents gave me the job of planting the carrot seeds in the garden. I was given the packet full of seeds and told to put the seeds in the row. Somehow, the packet got away from me and I spilled some seeds to the side. I guiltily pretended it didn’t happen and finished up my chore.
Later, I came back and I noticed that the seeds I had spilled had sprouted the same way the ones in the prepared row had sprouted. Suddenly, I understood what a seed was. It wasn’t a process my dad came up with–it’s a germ of life. I have always found seeds kind of magical since that day.
Vegetable gardening is one of the most valuable things you can do with your kid. Here are five reasons why:
It Teaches Them About Food–Let’s just say it: Americans are obese. One of the reasons for this is that we’re disconnected from our food. Seeing food grow as a child short-circuits this disconnection. It teaches them what plant-life actually is, and once they know that, they will always have something wholesome to reference when eating a fast food taco made out of Doritos.
It Teaches Them About Nature–You can teach about plants and seeds on the chalkboard, but it’s not the same as putting a seed in the ground and watching it grow. Gardening teaches children about plant life, insects, birds, light, water, fruiting, birth, and death–plus about a dozen other things I’m not thinking of right now.
It Gives Them Fresh Air and Exercise–We all know kids aren’t getting enough of that, right?
It Gives Them Autonomy–Gardening is a valuable life skill. No matter how bad things get, you know how to feed yourself. There’s that old saying, “Feed a man to fish, you can feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you can feed him for a lifetime.” That applies to gardens, and kids, too.
It Gets Them To Eat Vegetables–Studies show that when kids grow vegetables, they are more likely to eat them. This makes sense. After all, what gardener doesn’t want to eat the things they grow?