This year we decided since Coraline is now 3 years old, it would be a good time to introduce her to the family friendly activity of gardening. Not only will she truly learn where her favorite produce comes from, it is also a great tactile activity she can take part in. Not to mention it will save some money too.
After reading reviews online, we decided to pick up this three tier garden bed which is the perfect starter for our family of three! So far we have planted: three kinds of tomatoes, sugar snap peas, two kinds of bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, basil, green onions, mint, cilantro and parsley. We also planted serano and jalapeño peppers separately so that Coraline couldn’t get to them.
Gardening with toddlers and small children has a lot of great benefits. At our last check up with Coraline’s Pediatrician she mentioned an easy way to get your child to eat healthier is to let them help plant a garden.
Through the process of planting, daily watering and eventually picking their own harvest, it becomes a pleasurable and yummy game. The goal of a healthy diet is to eat a rainbow of foods. We definitely have fruits colored as Coraline loves berries but now we’re adding in new veggies all the time.
Numerous studies have found that children involved in hands-on school gardening activites developed an increased snacking preference for fruits and vegetables. Through this new hobby of gardening we’ve noticed Coraline has tried new things already such as munching on crisp basil leaves or sucking on sweet sugar snap pea pods.
Our little Gardner loves digging in the dirt and getting her hands dirty when gardening – and getting dirty is something she usually dislikes! It’s fun to watch her let loose a bit.
Another great benefit of gardening with little ones is it provides a good amount of exercise! Garden tasks such as digging, raking, planting and watering uses a variety of muscles in the upper and lower body. She’s usually ready for a good nap on gardening/outdoor days.
A memorable moment from this gardening day was Coraline’s quote as she was shoveling the potting soil “I’m making a giant mountain”. She also enjoyed learning about bugs. Silly questions came up that provided a learning experience such as Coraline asked if the soil was sand and I was able to explain the difference to her.
Gardening also helps make children feel more capable and confident. It builds a sense of accomplishment that they are helping with an adult activity. Coraline will actually alert us daily to the fact that it’s time to water her plants.
The whole family has been enjoying going outside to see the new flowers and sprouts on her plants. She’s also been helping her mommy put together salads with herbs from the garden. It’s been a fruitful experience for our whole family that we’re just starting to dig into!