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Benefits of Elementary-Aged Kids in the Garden

by Joe Lawrence | June 15th, 2016 | Elementary, Seasonal

Elementary-age-in-a-gardenElementary-aged children are extremely curious little creatures. Curious about everything except new foods and apparently vegetables. There is a very easy way for parents to get kids excited about vegetables and trying new foods all keeping them busy: gardening.

We are fortunate that our daughter is willing to at least try many different foods; however, she is quick to say they are not good. The best way we found to get her to really try new cuisines was to get her involved. When she helps to prepare the food, she is much more likely to give food a second try. However when we started a little garden for her, she cleaned her plate.

About a year ago, I was planting some flowers in our mulch bed, and she was very interested in helping me. I went out and bought a small two by two planter box and some seeds. She planted some flowers and loved every second of it. She would check on them every day and made sure the soil was moist and that they were cared for in every way. This gave me the idea to let her plant something that we can eat.

Then we planted some fresh herbs, and under her care they have taken off like crazy. Since then, I have taught her to pick them and clean them to keep in the crisper. Then as we try something new, like basil pesto, made from her harvest, she is very anxious to try. When we want to try a new recipe, we just her herbs, and there is very little push back.

All you need to do to get started is to get a planter box and some soil from the local hardware store. All together for that and some herbs, we were in the $25 range. The initial time investment to get everything started was the only real setback. After she was up and running, everything else became automatic.

I love letting her manager her garden for multiple reasons. The first is that she is learning to be responsible and care for this garden. The second reason is that she is learning stuff does not just magically appear and someone is working hard to put all of that food in the store and in our fridge. Lastly, I love the fact she is willing to try new things and eat much healthier food options.

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