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Gardening with children teaches healthy habits

Posted by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 3:31 AM
  • 7 Replies

Gardening with children teaches healthy habits

School may be out for summer, but as a parent, you can ensure there are plenty of opportunities for your children to learn new things throughout the vacation.

Start with something fun, practical and vital to health and wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.  But you can fight this trend with a hands-on lesson in nutrition.

 "Gardening is a great way to bridge the summer learning gap and promote a healthy lifestyle," said Shari Brown, the winner of 2012 Toyota Teacher of the Year Award. "Not only will you be improving your family's nutrition by incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your meals, you'll be exposing your children to a subject they may not learn about in school."

Brown, a North Carolina educator, was honored by the National Center for Family Literacy for her work helping families learn together. She plans to use her grant award to create a community garden.

Brown is encouraging families everywhere to learn together while gardening. She has several tips to help you learn in the garden:

Involve your children in the process of picking out what type of plants to grow. Then develop fun, nutritional meals together, such as veggie pizza and fruit salad.

Bugs are cool. Get your kids excited and curious about crucial garden critters with library books, Internet sites, videos and bug games.

Read stories about gardening with your children. Make a scrapbook about the experience of growing your garden.

Emphasize gardening and nutrition lessons in your home, too. Get your kids watering the house plants and making sure they have enough sunlight. Teach your kids what is compostable and have a discussion over dinner about where all the food on their plate comes from, not just what you've grown yourself. Expose them to a wide variety of new fruits, vegetables, plants and seasonings.

The fruits and veggies you harvest will be delicious, but your child's knowledge will be the most important thing you grow in the garden this summer.

Do you garden with your children?  What do you grow?

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by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 3:31 AM
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by Sarah on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:26 AM

 I started a garden when the kids were about 3 and 4 as a learning experience for them.  They are now 9 and 11 and still help me in the planning and taking care of the garden.  They are more willing to try new veggies that they grew

by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:40 AM

 we have a veggie garden and I take them to farmer's markets.  The kids love to dig in the dirt...unfortunately, they're picky about their veggies.

by Bethany on Jun. 28, 2012 at 9:33 PM

They're still so little and we have so much going on, I'm not sure where I would fit gardening in.  But I'm thinking next year they'll be old enough to help me some so I'm planning on doing one next year.  I was thinking it would be really cool to grow our own basil and do homemade pesto for Christmas presents....

by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

My daughter has helped with our garden a lot this year. Being able to have the freedom to go outside & pick peppers or tomatos or other fruits & veggies at any time is great for her. When she wants a snack outside is where she goes.

by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM

we don't really garden

by Meghan on Jun. 29, 2012 at 2:55 PM
We are not allowed to have a garden where we live
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by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 5:26 PM

We don't really garden either. My grandma did throw some cucumber seeds in my backyard that took so we pick cucumbers every once in a while. It gets old though. 

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