Alicia DeVore

I have a thankful heart when I think about how gardening has helped develop me and my children in crucial, significant ways.

When I was a young mom with three kids under the age of 10, gardening was the last thing I wanted to do. My oldest son begged me to grow a garden. He wanted to see something grow. After putting that small garden in our Los Angeles backyard, I started seeing that gardening was a lifestyle that encouraged my family to grow in character as well as learn to grow food.

Today, I’m sharing with you 8 underestimated life skills with family gardening activities for kids in this blog post to encourage the child in you to use gardening for great purposes.

8 life skills that gardening gives to kids

How We Learn Life Skills Through Gardening

Gardening is an activity that can benefit the whole family, no matter the age. It’s a great way to get children involved in learning new skills while also spending quality time together as a family doing an activity that will continue to serve them as they grow older. While gardening may seem like a simple hobby to begin with, it teaches valuable life skills that are often underestimated.

girl with sunflower

8 Life Skills Taught through Gardening

Life skills are essential for younger and older kids to learn as they are the building blocks for a successful and fulfilling life. These skills, which include responsibility, patience, problem-solving, and the ability to work in a team, equip children with the tools necessary to navigate through everyday situations effectively. Equally importantly, life skills foster a sense of self-confidence and independence, empowering family members to make informed decisions, solve problems, and adapt to new circumstances.

Furthermore, life skills go beyond academic success and are highly sought after by employers, thus highlighting their significance in shaping a family member or child’s future. In this section, we will discuss eight life skills that are often underestimated but heavily emphasized through family gardening activities for family members and kids. Check out these gardening books for young learners to start the learning process.

boy investagating with maginfying glass

Patience

Gardening requires patience as plants take time to grow vegetables and thrive. Kids learn that good things come to those who wait, and this lesson can be applied to other areas of their lives, such as studying or pursuing hobbies.

Responsibility

This life skill teaches the importance of responsibility. They are responsible for watering, weeding, and caring for the plants, which helps them understand the value of taking care of the environment and their belongings and duties.

boy and girl watering a garden

Problem-Solving

Gardening also teaches children how to problem-solve. They may encounter challenges in container gardens, such as pests or plant diseases, and they will need to find ways to overcome these obstacles. This skill can be applied to other areas of their life, such as finding solutions to school projects or resolving conflicts with friends.

Creativity

Gardening allows others to express their creativity by designing and planning their garden space. They can also experiment with different plants, vegetables, trees, colors, and textures, giving them a sense of ownership of the family or community garden and pride in their work.

boy with chicken

Cooperation and Teamwork

Family gardening activities provide an excellent opportunity for parents and kids to work together as a team. They show families can divide tasks, share responsibilities, and learn how to communicate effectively with each other.

One activity that provides cooperation and benefits the whole family, is harvesting fruit off of trees, teaching how to look for firm produce, and how to use a produce brush to wash and clean the fruit. This activity uses everyone and provides another chance for teamwork as seen in this documented blog post.

Nutrition and Healthy Eating Habits

By growing their fruits and vegetables, kids learn about food as seen in this blog post, the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits. They can see firsthand how food is grown and understand the many benefits of consuming fresh produce.

garden grown with kids

Health and Fitness

Gardening is a physical activity, as researched in this blog post, that provides numerous health benefits for everyone such as improving motor skills, coordination, and strength. It also promotes outdoor play and reduces screen time, which is crucial for maintaining overall health.

Sensory Exposure

Gardening engages all five senses, making it a multi-sensory learning experience. They can feel the soil, smell the plants and flowers, taste fresh fruits and vegetables, see different colors and textures, see different scents, and hear the sounds of nature. This exposure to various sensations benefits their development of sensory skills and increases their awareness of the natural world around them.

boy shopping for fruit trees

5 Family Garden Activities

Begin family bonding time with five ideas for simple yet fun and engaging activities that the child and whole family can enjoy together.

Plant Races

This plant activity involves a child planting seeds of different plants running water and seeing which seed grows the fastest. It’s a great way to teach about plant growth and the importance of taking care of plants whether in a container garden or in a raised bed.

Garden Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of items to find in the garden, such as specific types of fruit, flowers pull weeds, dirt, or leaves. This activity promotes observation skills and helps others to learn to look around them for answers and clues. Discover a new world in nature.

Kid reading a book

Nature Journals

Encourage kids to keep a nature journal where they can draw and write about their observations in the garden. This activity helps them develop their writing and artistic skills while also fostering a deeper connection with nature.

Garden Story Time

Combine life skills and stories with reading by having a garden storytime. Choose books that are related to gardening or have themes of responsibility, patience, or problem-solving

Sensory Eating Picnics

Take a break from life and have a picnic in the garden. Let children and small garden and taste different fruits, veggies, and herbs they have grown while also enjoying the sensory experience of being surrounded by nature. This activity promotes healthy eating habits while also allowing children to appreciate their hard work in the garden.

To help you get this life skill started, check out the 12-week from Nothing to Harvest Grow with your Kids a Family Garden course offered a few times a year. This course comes with weekly Zoom support to help you start and keep a garden growing.

8 life skillls that gardening teaches kids with a kid watering a garden

Conclusion

Gardening is an excellent way to teach children valuable life skills that will benefit them in all areas of their lives. Family gardening activities provide a fun and engaging way for children to learn responsibility, patience, problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, nutrition, health and fitness, and sensory exposure. By involving the whole family in activities, children can develop these skills while also creating lasting memories with their loved ones. So why not grab some seeds and start your family garden plot today?

As children continue to grow and develop, they will carry these valuable life skills with them, shaping them into responsible, patient, creative, and healthy individuals. Gardening is more than just a fun activity; it’s a very beneficial tool for shaping the future generation. Its benefits help families have a wonderful common goal.

boy with pumpkin that he grew

Gardening is more than just a fun activity; it’s a tool for shaping the future generation. So let’s get our hands dirty and start with the entire family today! Remember, the skills learned through a garden will stay with the entire family forever and provide quality time throughout the entire process. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

Nurturing and growing a family garden together is not just for growing food but also for the growth and development of our children. Let’s make this life skill a family tradition that will be passed down from generation to generation. Together, we can create a beautiful family garden, eat whole and healthy food, and raise responsible, creative, and healthy individuals who appreciate nature and all it has to offer. Start your family garden today!

More RESOURCES to help you Garden with Your Kids:

Resource Gardening Books for Beginners

54 Inspirational Gardening Quotes

6 Ways Gardening Can Help a Child’s Development

Guide to 10 Easy Veggies to Grow with Kids

5 Easy Steps to Building a Butterfly Garden with Kids

21 Picture Books about Gardening for Young Readers

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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