Do you fight with your kids to eat their fruits and veggies? Try starting a garden!
Gardening can really have a positive impact on children. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that gardening may increase a child’s intake of fruits and vegetables, nutrition knowledge and preference for vegetables. When a child participates in planting a garden, they become more excited and involved thus increasing the chance of that child eating what they helped to grow.. or at least trying a few tastes of it. (Same goes for having a child pick out a new fruit or vegetable at the store. They are more likely to at least try it!)
Personally, I started gardening two years ago and my kids (I have 4) LOVE helping water the garden and watching it grow. They are so excited to finally eat the vegetable when we pick it. I never get that same excitement when I buy the same product from the store! (Attached is Emily from two summers ago helping me!)
Kids can help:
– Pick out the plants at the nursery.
– Color markers for the ground so you know what you planted. (I purchased some wooden stakes and the kids drew a picture of what vegetable we planted. After I planted the vegetable we put the stake in).
– Help dig hole for the plant to go in. (Kids LOVE this part!)
– Gardening supplies makes for great Easter or spring gifts for kids.
– Assign days for who gets to water the garden.
– Help the kids pick the vegetables when ripe. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Teach your child how to wash the produce and then make a kid friendly recipe together.
– Tomatoes can be used to make salsa, tomato sauce, for homemade pizza, etc. The lesson really comes full circle after you pick the produce and involve the kids in the cooking.
I try and incorporate mini lessons. For instance if we have carrots, why are carrots so good for us? It helps our eyes!
Keep in mind you do not need a lot of space to grow a garden. Many fruits and vegetables can be grown in planters on a patio with direct sunlight.
Check out this article from the NWI Times I was quoted in on gardening with your kids!