What better way to teach children to respect the Earth then to let them dig in it. Not sand box sand but the dark damp earth, full of wiggling worms. Having a garden provides an opportunity to do this. It also teaches children the value in protecting the Earth. Having a garden will make them good global stewards. Here are three specific reasons children should have a garden.
1) Children should know from where their food comes.
It makes me sad when I see nothing on the school lunch tray that resembles real food. When children participate in the gardening process, checking each day for new fruits and vegetables they are eager to eat real food. They learn the names of bush beans, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and more. Later on when they see big companies trying to sell over processed junk as food they will be able to call them out.
2) The bees!! Don’t kill the bees.
For the love let’s all please save the bees. Children should be cautious of bees. Who wouldn’t want to protect their children from stings but we must as a society put the pesticide down. Children who garden will learn that we need bees to make food. We have butterfly bushes and milk weed growing around our garden to invite the pollinators. We consider ourselves a little safe zone for our honey making friends and we have learned to co-exist with them.
3) A garden, like life, takes patience and perseverance. This is important.
We dig the holes, plant the seeds, and water the garden with zealous excitement. Then we wait and wait. We start to give up. Then all of a sudden we have five foot high peas and we have to make more bamboo climbing poles. More than once the kids have pulled a plum or an apple off the tree before it was ripe because they couldn’t wait anymore. There are many life lessons to be taught in the garden.