By Jaime Mathews

Why You Should Teach Your Kids How to Garden

Mamahood + Homeschool

The Sweet Life

March 21, 2023

Gardening is not for the instant gratification at heart. You rarely see immediate results from your crop, and for a kid, that can be almost unbearable, as their attention spans are usually equated to their age (and I find that to be true as my 4-year-old’s attention is just about 4 minutes!). But the benefits of teaching your kids how to garden are ripe with fun life lessons. Yes, even for the 4 year olds!

Teach Your Kids How to Garden

How I Got My Kids To Have Fun Gardening

My family had a large garden growing up. But strangely enough, the only items I ever remember growing were cherry tomatoes and strawberries. I think that might be because those were two fruits that I loved dearly, so I was often the sole harvester. Meaning that I usually ate everything I picked!

When I decided to include kids in our garden, I let them be a part of the entire process. Each of my twins created their own architectural design. They drew the raised planter beds and then filled them with the fruits and veggies they wanted to grow. I took both of their drawings and incorporated them into our master garden design. It was from that moment that they became invested in our family garden. 

Once we built our garden beds, I took them to the nursery to let them pick out whichever seeds that wanted to sow indoors. I had done a little research on the Farmer’s Almanac (link) so that I knew which fruits, veggies and herbs would grow best in our region at that time of year, but after giving them a little direction, I let them choose whatever they wanted. We bought compostable pots that, once the seedlings sprouted, we could plant directly in the ground. And we invested in good quality organic soil so that we set our seeds up for a successful production. 

My kiddos filled each of their pots, gently pushed their seeds of choice into the soil, and then we set pots in our kitchen window and waited for something to sprout.

Kids want to be a part of things. As parents, it’s sometimes easier to just do it ourselves, but the more we encourage and engage kids in our day-to-day lives, the more they want to be a part of it!

The Benefits Of Teaching Your Kids To Garden 

There are lots of benefits to teaching your kids to dig in the dirt while gardening.

  1. Gardening uses all five senses. If you want your children to understand what it means to use all of their five senses, gardening is the best teacher! Your kiddos can learn what a vine-ripened tomato smells like, what dry dirt feels like and what a sprig of rosemary looks like. Gardening is one of nature’s best science lessons.
  2. Gardening is fun for the whole family. Looking for ways to connect with your kids? Engage them with the entire garden process. 
  3. Gardening can produce our best stewards of the land. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown and harvested is a life lesson that will stay with kids their entire life. And the more connected kids are to the food they eat, the more concern they will have for protecting the earth that supports the food supply.
  4. Gardening encourages healthy eating. If you have a picky eater, having a garden can help eliminate some of that pickiness. Kids are more apt to try something that they have been directly involved with. They may not instantly love crooked neck squash from the garden, but I bet they’ll at least try it more than if it came from the grocery store. Other homegrown garden foods like tomatoes, taste completely different than those bought at a store, so having children experience the difference can also lead to a great conversation about local, organic food vs. commercial agriculture. 

List Of Top Gardening Activities For Kids

From inception to maintaining, there are lots of gardening activities for kids of all ages. 

  1. Have a seed planting party. My family had a Family Friday party where we ate pizza, played music outside and prepared and planted our seeds in the compostable pots
  2. Create an observation booklet. Have your kids draw pictures of their pots each week to see what changes are occurring. You will all be excited to day you see a little green sprout poking through the brown dirt
  3. Let them plant what they grew. Once it’s time to take your seeds outdoors, allow your kiddos to dig the holes and plant what they have grown. They will have so much pride in what they planted and nurtured
  4. Let them water and prune. This one requires a little more teaching at first, since it is easy to under or over-water your garden. Teach them the proper way to water, how to safely use pruning shears, and what to prune, but let them be an active participant in the garden’s maintenance.
  5. Make a game out of finding the fruits and veggies! My kids love when our garden starts producing. I let them find all of the zucchini and squash hiding amongst its vine. I allow them to scour the berry bushes to find the ripe ones to pick (and eat). 
  6. Let them harvest. It is easier and faster for me to harvest all of the artichokes, the squash, the peppers and the tomatoes, but my kids have so much fun doing it. It’s not a perfect process and I may never have enough berries to make a homemade pie (because they eat everything they pick), but the seed-filled smiles on my childrens’ faces after they find and devour a ripe strawberry is worth it.
  7. Share your bounty farm stand. One of my kiddos’ favorite things to do is have a pop-up farm stand. Last year, we had an abundance of veggies and herbs that we couldn’t use, so several times during the summer, we wheeled our garden wagon outside our home on the street we live and put our “Mathews Farm Stand” sign up. Neighbors, walkers and passersby came and were able to take veggies home. My kids were thrilled to see the people stopping, admiring and taking home fresh food to share with their families. They had such a sense of pride that they were a part of growing and then sharing their bounty.
Teach Your Kids How to Garden

The Most Important Lesson Gardening Teaches Kids

My favorite lesson from the land is that gardening develops our most important virtues. The Bible teaches us to live by the fruit of the Spirit. That is, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  Each of these virtues are taught and exhibited in the garden. And kids are able to learn these as they nurture their plots of land. 

You need love to nurture your newly planted veggies or fruit. You experience joy as you literally see the fruits of your labor. You gain peace as your hands sift through the soil. Gardens take incredible patience as you watch seeds turn into bountiful crops. Kids and adults need to be kind and good to their gardens, as careless action can result in your plants dying. You need to be faithful as you patiently wait to enjoy all that you planted. You need gentleness when transplanting your seedlings so you do not disrupt its root systems. And adults and kids alike need to learn self-control to wait until the ideal time to harvest their bounty.

You don’t need to live on a large farm to build and enjoy a garden. Even one 4’x6’ garden bed can produce an abundant crop. And the space you will use to create your garden will become one of your kids’ best outdoor classrooms for education and life enrichment.


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Jaime Mathews      Author

Jaime is a woman of many hats: follower of Jesus, wife, mama of three, homeschooler, business owner, blogger, writer and aspiring homesteader. Follow her on instagram @jaimeleemathews.

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