All my life, I have seen how my mother kept her balcony so lush green with the natural plants and seasonal flowers. Even though she worked a full time job, she never quit what she loved the most. Gardening. Oh those green visuals. That smell after the rain. I have been in love with nature ever since and the credit goes to my parents. My parents involved me into gardening to a great extent and this skill was passed on to me with utmost love. I still cherish it. And now I make sure my kid gets involved too.
Here’s a picture of my small but cute balcony garden which is practically impossible to maintain in the harsh dry weather of UAE. Due to extreme heat, the plants are hard to grow but I still managed somehow. The plants are like small babies only.
I am doing all this not just for my own interest and love for gardening but also so that:
1. My child would learn this art and skill of gardening that this generation is forgetting.
2. She is responsible to water the plants each day with her toy watering can and thus she is learning to be responsible.
3. She is learning the basics of science through gardening. Like how plants grow, how they need manure, how to not pick them at night.
4. Some where in her rapidly growing brain she is storing the information about oxygen, carbondi oxide and water. These words are like a normal thing for her as she hear them a lot from us.
5. She knows she can grow her own potatoes and carrots herself. The basic kitchen gardening. If encouraged, she will know what is organic and what is not.
6. Each plant has a different type of leaf, flower etc, so its like giving kids a source of practical learning about biology.
7. Different techniques of growing a plant- through seed sprouting, through grafting, through basic branch rooting; can be taught to them easily.
8. Did you notice there was no mention of the screen time. Yes, this is a fun way to keep them away from the TV, I-Pads.
9. Kids know that mother nature is the biggest magician that can grow fruits, flowers, vegetables only if you respect her.
10. When kids touch the soil, the stones and the branches, this helps them greatly with their sensory development and fine motor skills.
11. The dirt is not always dirty. They know this. Kids should be allowed to play and get themselves dirty in the soil as this way they develop immunity.
12. After gardening, teach them to stay germ free by washing their hands with soap and using a sanitizer. Plants grow in dirt, humans don’t. They learn all this.
13. In the end, amongst many other benefits, that we know now also add they learn what is a right thing to do and what is a wrong thing. Like how much should they dig before actually planting a seed for its growth.
Not only gardening with make them love the planet Earth but it will also bond the kid and the parents. The time spent together doing such activities will not be forgotten. I know that much.
To add fun, After watering the plants, I even allow my daughter to jump in the messy muddy puddle she made by overwatering. This way she knows that plants do not require too much water.
A happy kid and happy Earth is what I get in the end.
If you like what I have shared, please pour on your love in the comments.
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Also read about practical benefits of gardening here.
Read about DIY with kids here.