Gardening with Kids: 12 Ways Plants Benefit Children

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Life Skills with Plants: Significant Benefits of Houseplants for Kids

Plants benefit children in many ways. Gardening with kids offers benefits that most of us might overlook, yet the effect on their lives imprints firmly. While outdoor gardening might offer seasonal enjoyment, we suggest you consider houseplants for a year-round hobby.

Homeschooling families have created many unit studies centered on gardening, both indoors and out. However, the benefits surpass any schooling options. In fact, many traditional schools implement a similar approach and find that gardening with kids offers skill training beyond simply growing plants.

How does growing plants benefit children? We’ve gathered a shortlist of twelve ways. However, we invite you to add your own.

Family Gardening Outside Cottage. Full length of parents with three children gardening outside cottage stock photos
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Gardening with Kids; 12 Ways Plants Benefit Children

  1. Learning a new hobby develops research and study skills that prove useful throughout life. Knowing how to learn offers opportunities throughout life from hobbies to personal interests and careers.
  2. Gain an appreciation for a plant life cycle, from seed to mature plant. Watching a seed or cutting develop through stages into a mature plant provides an increased awareness of the cycle of life.
  3. Learn about the nutrients that plants need. They also become versed in the role of the sun and water. This helps develop an appreciation of plant sciences.
  4. More science learning comes from discovering the complexity of the plant structure. Examining the tiny root hairs on roots to the stigma of the flower and all the other parts between encourages children’s interest in the world of science.
  5. Use math skills to determine amounts of nutrients and water. Math skills help determine the dimensions and volume of containers. Indeed, caring for plants creates plenty of opportunities for using practical math skills.
  6. Reading skills benefit when children read about the plants, their type, care, and maintenance. When a child wants to know more about their new hobby, the thirst for knowledge leads them to read both short facts and lengthy articles and books.
  7. Research shows that allowing children to get dirty helps to develop the immune system
    1. (read: 6 reasons kids should play in dirt) 
  8. Growing edibles such as lettuces and herbs encourage an appreciation for food value and culinary skills. A windowsill herb garden produces a perpetual source of fresh herbs to season foods. Adding flavor to vegetables and bread allows children to experiment with foods they have grown.
  9. Some bugs harm plants, but some are also beneficial to plants. Children learn basic entomology as they identify them. While fewer pests inhabit indoor plants, some do find their way inside. Also, many plants benefit from time outside during the warmer summer months, allowing additional opportunities.
  10. Develop a sense of responsibility. Much like having a pet, a plant requires regular care and maintenance. Some plants require daily water checks while others need less.  Sunlight needs also vary greatly. Learning what each plant needs and remember to provide the needed care builds accountability. Also, children see the results of their efforts.
  11. Encourages exploring new plants and ideas. Stretches the imagination, while providing a reason to research and explore. Seeing one plant grow and develop from daily care stimulates the child’s interest in other plants. A healthy, growing plant becomes a reward that motivates the child to further his skills.
  12. A bonus benefit: Families enjoying the plant hobby find it helps togetherness bonding. While a child eventually learns to care for her plants with little assistance, she needs help to begin. Even with fine-tuned skills, children enjoy showing their plants to family members and explaining what they have learned. In many families, children and parents care for houseplants as a team.

 

With so many ways that house plants benefit children, families often choose gardening with children in homes and schools.

Looking for more information? For ideas and plants to try, see our article on Houseplants for Children

 

Read More:

Little kid boy picking strawberries on farm, outdoors. Funny little kid boy holding baskets with strawberries on organic pick a berry farm in summer, on warm royalty free stock images
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18 Comments

  1. Vicki

    Having raised 2 children and being a lover of gardening, I agree with all you have written to share with others.

    Kids love creating and watching their seeds grow into edible fruit or vegetables and teaching children this way also gives them science knowledge, living off the land knowledge and they learn how to be part of what Mother Nature intended and I loved my visit here and will share this post with hope others come to learn from you and share this fun time with their children.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thank you for your comments, Vicki and I do appreciate your sharing with others. Your children have learned a valuable skill and hobby! Please stop back again soon.

      Reply
  2. Lindsey

    I absolutely love the information you provide about the benefits of acquiring a houseplant for your little one!  Recently, I purchased a house plant with my 5 year old for his bedroom.  He was able to pick it out and he enjoys the responsibility of caring for it.  It has been such a fun and engaging activity for us to do together.   From watering it, to adding organic plant food, and getting rid of the dead leaves, he has thoroughly enjoyed his plant!  He even named it. 🙂  This is such a wonderful activity to recommend to others, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Diane

      That is wonderful, Lindsey. 5 is a good age to teach responsibility and having a plant can make the teaching more meaningful. Thanks for reading through. Please stop back and visit often.

      Reply
  3. Christine

    I love plants and I have many. Growing house plants is a wonderful initiative for children, especially now that they have to stay home, and many are going out of their minds. A plant requires a lot of care, and it instills a sense of responsibility in children. They may also grow fond of their plants and get excited when they start producing flowers or fruits, depending on the type of plant they are planting. I have several fruit trees and it is also incredibly exciting for me to watch them grow their first fruits. It gives a sense of accomplishment. 

    Children could also write progress reports on their plant projects, there is so much one could do here. Great ideas!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Good points, Christine. Our family has always homeschooled, so we include it in our curriculum. With the stay-at-home orders now in effect, I’m sure others will appreciate your viewpoint, too. Thanks for sharing and please stop back again soon.

      Reply
  4. Sami

    I agree with you that plants and kids were meant to be together.  I didn’t realize this till the last couple of years that I all but missed the boat with helping my kids learn to love working with plants.  They love to plant seeds, replant seedlings and care for growing plants.  They just need to be shown how.  We get fish tanks to help them learn about taking care of live things- plants are cheaper and easier!   I think that the homeschooling of the past couple of months will bring about some good changes in our lives.  We have gotten so far from the basics with all our busy lifestyle and our technology and getting in our steps for the day that we have forgotten the quiet peaceful times.  

    What plants beyond the lettuce, maybe the salad tomatoes are good for pot growing that you have found kids like to work with?  Do you have the outside or in?

    Yards of new builds seldom have room for gardens, but having pot plants is still possible.  Thanks for helping me realize what I had missed.

    Reply
    • Diane

      It’s never too late to encourage kids to enjoy a new skill or hobby, including plants. I think that is a positive that has come from the pandemic–families are forced to slow down a bit and rethink life together.

      For edibles, beyond what you mentioned, you can also grow strawberries, herbs (kids can learn to make their own mint tea!) and many others. If you have a patio area, you can even grow potatoes and onions in 5-gallon buckets. 

      Come back often to see our updates and get more ideas on plants to grow!

      Reply
  5. frozz

    Hey Diane,
    Nice and great article about gardening. It reminds me of my childhood days. I completely agree that it’s a good and enjoyable hobby to start for children. It feels great to harvest crops or plants that you planted by yourself. I wish children today have the same passion besides the ever growing hunger of tech gadgets.
    Great stuff!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks for the comments. I wish I had spent more time helping in our family garden as a child, though I did usually show up when the peas and beans were ripe! 

      I do agree that kids can develop a passion for gardening, indoor or out, if we allow and encourage.

      Thanks for stopping by; please visit again soon!

      Reply
  6. glenn

    I enjoyed your topic and your article.  Your “12 Reasons” all make sense and motivate me to want to do some in house planting with our kids.  The pictures of Mom and happy kids are motivating too.

    I hope these comments are helpful for you and I wish you great success!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thank you for your comments, Glenn. I think that positive experiences in a family are critical to raising children to be successful adults, and plants can be one part of that.

      Thank you for visiting and please stop back again soon!

      Reply
  7. petergeorge5666

    Yeah when kids are engaged on home training, it helps to develop their knowledge about plants. I have a friend who has beautiful kids, she started grooming her kids on various plants today the kids are 5and 7 they know the botanical names of all domestic plants. This post is very educative

     

    Reply
    • Diane

      Your friend’s children will benefit greatly from the experiences she is giving them! Please consider sharing our website with them.

      Thanks for visiting. Please stop by again soon.

      Reply
  8. Layefa2

    hey there,
    what a nice article you have here, i think hose plants is an amazing initiative for kids, growing up i was always fascinated by how plants grow its amazes me, house planting is something we should definitely try with our kids especially now that outdoor movements are restricted and i also think its a basic step in teaching kids about responsibilities.  

    Reply
    • Diane

      I believe most kids are fascinated by plants and encouraging their interest benefits the child, but also all of us. And I agree that in this strange time of everyone staying home, indoor plants are even more essential.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you will visit often.

      Reply
  9. Thousand

    Hello there, a big thanks to you for sharing this insightful and fascia piece  on the topic titled, gardening with kids, 12 ways plants benefits children. Gardening with kids could really be fun and interesting. Anyways I never really knew plants could benefit children this much. Anyways thanks for this education, now I know how plants does benefits kids. 

    Reply
    • Diane

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Kids are so inquisitive and plants are a great way to encourage them in a positive way. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit again soon!

      Reply

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