Did you and your children plant a garden this spring? Now that June has arrived, depending on where you live, you might even have had a chance to pick some early vegetables. While teaching homeschool in your garden is a great hands-on activity to children about where our food comes from, the benefits of gardening extend far beyond when it comes to child development.
According to an article by Michigan State University and Lansing Community College researchers Kittie Butcher and Janet Pletcher, gardening together gives parents the opportunity to help children develop both physically and intellectually.
For example, very young children can be encouraged to practice gross-motor and fine-motor skills by digging with a small spade or trowel. Even the smallest hands can help water seedlings with a small cup.
Parents can gently guide preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school children to use all five senses when gardening. Ask them – “What do you see? What do you hear? Can you smell anything?” And then once the garden starts to grow, they’ll also have the opportunity to taste!
Your Garden is Planted…Now What?
If your kids are anything like mine, they were excited to plant their herb garden, and their carrot, lettuce, cucumber and tomato seeds. But waiting around to watch them grow? Not so much. That’s why I created this free Garden Journal and Weekly Garden Chore Pack.
Use a Garden Journal to Encourage Writing
I printed off one cover page of the Garden Journal then a few copies of each of the three journal pages for each child to complete. The simple prompts help guide them to get started with writing about what they’re seeing and hearing in the garden.
It gives them a chance to do a bit of “free writing”, drawing, and handwriting practice through the summer months when we have a gentle homeschool schedule.
Although we don’t plan to use our garden journals every day, it’s easy enough to print off extra pages if we want to write a bit more.
Weekly Children’s Gardening Chore Charts
We’re also using gardening to teach the importance of stewardship and diligence. Children need to be taught that gardens need daily nurturing and tending in order to grow and provide a bountiful harvest.
We use our Weekly Garden Chore Charts to stay on track with weeding and watering daily. And since we learned about the Scientific Method, we also have a spot to track daily observations. If we spot pests/bugs/slugs, mold, wilting, weeds, rabbit activity (ugh), or other issues, there’s a spot to make notes or draw pictures each day.
And when you’re ready to add fertilizer or even harvest what you’ve been growing, simply add them to the weekly list in the blank spots.
Download and print as many copies as you need. Happy gardening!
Sarita Harbour is a busy mom/step-mom, and grandmother blessed with seven kids ranging from age 32 down to seven. She lives off the grid with her family in a lakefront chalet in the beautiful wilderness of Canada’s far north. She spends her days teaching, writing, and learning the ropes of homesteading off the grid. Visit her site, Off Grid Life, for free printables and resources on homesteading, homeschooling, and self-reliance for the whole family.