While it may be a mother – as in, Mother Earth – who gets most of the attention related to outdoors and nature, there’s a lot fathers can do to play their part.
Oddly enough, old stereotypes behold mom’s domain is inside the home, while dad’s is everything outside of it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is, any parent can foster a child’s love of growing plants and gardening.
Many dads are fervent champions of growing fruits and vegetables, and using the land to make food instead of paying grocery stores top dollar for it.
But no matter the impetus, there’s great value in creating a garden with children regardless of how much space you have. Here’s a suggestion – start small. Like, really small. There are a lot of fun micro terrariums and fairy garden kits in stores, and they all grow fast. Receiving that instant gratification can spark a child’s interest immediately, and you can start those kits in any season.
If you’d like to get a little more serious with gardening that involves seed packets, dirt and weeding, potted plants fit just about anywhere. Any flower will do, but sunflowers are particularly fun. And tomatoes and potatoes are also good pot dwellers.
Beyond the obvious benefits of eating healthy, gardening offers dads and kids a lot more. One of those is bonding. It will give you and your children an opportunity to work on a project together while talking. That’s right, actual conversation! If you’re looking for a chance to lessen screen time, this is it.
Gardening is also a great workout. Excavateging, weeding, bending, stretching – sure, it burns calories but there’s also the spinoff perks of lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and more. So not only are you growing healthy, natural food, you’re doing plenty for your mind, body and soul.
Nurturing a green thumb in your child can also turn him from anti-vegetable to all-in. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing what you have planted flourish to life. You might even get your kids to eat, say, radishes; bring them from the store and they’ll scoff, but your kids are far more likely to eat something they’ve grown.
It also gives kids some much-needed independence. You can plant items together, but consider giving them a section or pots all to themselves. Let them be totally responsible for water, weeding and ensuring sunlight. They can even mark their seeds with fun signs and give them pet names, too.
Many like to start kids very young with other extracurriculars (music and sports come to mind), so why not do the same with gardening? Like anything we do in life, the point is to have fun, and gardening offers the uniqueness of parents and kids working side-by-side.