The Health Benefits of Gardening
From a young age, individuals learn about the world through observation, discovery, and interaction with their surroundings. If you have ever taken a walk through a park with a child, you may have noticed a change in their behavior. Spending time in nature benefits the health of both our minds and our bodies.
A home, community, or school-garden provides the perfect setting to explore the wonders of nature. With spring just around the corner, there is no better time to start planning a garden! Consider the use of an enabled garden design that is accessible to and can be enjoyed by everyone. These guidelines serve as a guide for conducting community- or school-garden activities safely during COVID-19.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of gardening:
- Gardening promotes healthy eating: Gardening can provide exposure to new and diverse foods. When children grow their own fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to try these foods. Creating a home garden is also a great way for families to spend time together and engage in outdoor physical activity.
- Gardening improves mood and reduces stress: As COVID-related "screen fatigue” increases, many families are looking for activities that do not involve technology. Tending a garden is the perfect way to take a brain break. In addition, gardening activities such as working with the soil and harvesting foods positively impact our body’s release of mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.
- Gardening provides opportunities for physical activity: Adults and children should strive for 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Digging, planting, and harvesting in the garden are all forms of physical activity.
- Gardening offers opportunities for experiential learning: A school-garden scavenger hunt is a great way for teachers to integrate nutrition into standards-based lessons in a variety of subjects, including math and social studies. During COVID-19, outdoor gardens are also a great way to help students socially distance while furthering their education.
- Gardening fosters social-emotional skills: Gardening teaches children basic life skills such as how to socially interact with others and develop skills such as sharing and taking turns. Working cooperatively allows children to develop a sense of self-confidence, teamwork, and responsibility as they create, plant, and tend to the garden. Gardening is also a good way for children to learn environmental responsibility by taking care of nature.
Do you need additional ideas for your gardening project? Check out these resources:
- Fresh from the Farm: Farm to School and Out-of-School Time Programs
- Growing an Indoor Garden
- How to Start a School Garden Toolkit
- Food Safety Tips for School Gardens