Here’s How Gardening Can Help Your Child’s Development

Gardeners have long known the pleasant side effects of gardening –keeping active, the planning it takes, the thought process of what vegetable will grow better in the shade of trees and so on.

Yet gardening is more than just a pleasant past time. Cultivating, planning and growing your own food, for example, affects mind, body and soul. For parents, this is great news.

Always looking to give your children new experiences, the greatest resource that nature provides could be right on your doorstep. So, rent an allotment or get out in the garden, enjoy the temperate climes of the greenhouse or enjoy the growing space of domestic polytunnels because all offer unparalleled abilities to expand and nurture your child’s development.

Gardening and the brain

There are a number of scientific concepts involved in the entire process of gardening. What do plants need to grow and why? Why do some plants thrive in damp, boggy soil but others prefer free-draining? How does the colour of the plant's flowers help to determine the best place for it? How do plants drink?

The questions could go on and on but they are all scientific concepts that at some point in their formal education, children and young people will come across. Gardening in effect gives them a head start because they have already seen these concepts in action.

Also, there are the mathematical concepts to understand from measuring to counting to spatial awareness. A simple activity that links to the National Curriculum for science and maths, could be to estimate the growth of a plant, like a sunflower for example.

Gardening and the Body

This is a two-fold development for children: firstly, there is the physical activity of gardening and secondly, the healthy eating aspect.

Physical Activity

Hardly a day goes by when the amount of time that youngsters spend glued to a screen, be that their uber-smart phone or a gaming console is criticised. As parents, this concerns us and so we try to introduce activities that pull them away from their gadgets.

This increasingly sedentary lifestyle is causing health problems too and so an afternoon spent in the garden is a great way to get active and get some fresh air. From half an hour weeding and hoeing to planting seeds and seedlings, there are all kinds of physical activity that get kids moving (and you too!).

Healthy Eating

Getting kids to eat their greens or anything other than highly processed, sugar-laden and salty foods can seem like a never-ending battle. Children’s tastes and willingness to try different things will change with time but, in the meantime, you are battling every meal time to get anything on the plate, never mind in their mouths, that resembles a vegetable.

Growing your own has been one way that some parents have been able to introduce their children to vegetables and fruit, so why not give it a whirl? Start with easy-to-grow vegetables and enjoy raw, straight off the plant for the best flavour. Pots make great growing containers, as does the flower border and cress grown in egg shells on the kitchen window ledge is the stuff of childhood memories.

Gardening and the Soul

In the digital age, we tend to ‘relax’ by tweeting, posting, surfin’, gamin’, you name it but you have to ask the question, is this really downtime? Are we really teaching our children how to disconnect and relax?

Gardeners, from prize-winning ones to those that enjoy ‘pottering’ amongst the flowers and the buzzing bees have long known that the garden is the ideal place to relax. The garden is not just about growing things and all the hard work that comes with that, but gardening is also about enjoying how to work in harmony with nature.

pin for later

Once you have planted and nurtured, freed your plants from weeds and staked the pea plants to climb high, once you have dead-headed the violas to encourage new growth and gently watered the tomato plants, once you have seen that all is right in the garden, you should enjoy time admiring your handy work.

There is a satisfaction in watching your garden blossom, bloom and grow knowing that you had a hand in it. You too can pass on this appreciation to your children, pointing what has changed and what you will do differently next year.

Who would have thought that the garden, that small plot of land in front, at the side or behind your home, the allotment or the polytunnel could be such a powerful force in the development of mind, body and soul?

First Tunnels has long known that gardening, growing your own food in polytunnels along with brightly coloured flowers and fruits has many beneficial side effects, for adults and children alike.

*Collaborative post


  1. I've always wanted to get into gardening with my kids, but the soil here in Tampa is so sandy. Love reading about all the benefits of gardening, makes me want to get a jump-start on this again. Cheers!

    1. Do you have such things as allotments there Jennifer?

  2. ah i love gardening and it certainly inculcates healthy eating habits!

  3. I think growing things in the garden and enjoying is something that stops in your memories has you grow up.Especially if it's something like Sunflowers or something you eat like Strawberries.

  4. My kids like mucking about in the garden while I sunbathe - does this count as gardrni ng lol?!