A few years ago, I stunned a young student in one of my gardening classes after telling him that he couldn’t actually grow pickles—only cucumbers. From that moment he craved to learn more.
Whether your garden is on a city windowsill or in a big backyard, getting kids involved in tending plants can be a powerful teaching tool for subjects like science, math, and reading. But the art of growing stuff can also promote important life skills in children. Here’s how your garden can grow responsibility, kindness, and other values in your kids.
Why your kid needs it: Being patient is something many children struggle with, but it can be an important factor in future school success. It also helps a kid stay calm in stressful situations, which promotes good mental health. “To most children, everything is in the moment,” says psychiatrist David Scott May of Mill Valley, California. “Life is a blend of immediate and delayed gratification, so children benefit from learning about both.”