The benefits of making something grow

Growing fruit, vegetables or plants is a great activity to keep your young child entertained during the summer holidays. Most young children will love growing their own food or plants as it is a way to get their hands dirty, have fun and create something new. They will be interested in learning about fruit, vegetables and plants and how to grow them, from when to water the soil to how long it will take them to grow.

Growing food or plants is a great way for your young child to learn new skills, knowledge and understanding about nature, the environment and where their food comes from. Below are some benefits of why making something grow promotes healthy child development:

  • Teaches them responsibility & patience

By giving your child the task of watering their fruit, vegetables or plants on a daily basis you are teaching them responsibility and how to take care of their fruit, vegetables or plants in order for them to ripen or sprout. Children will love this opportunity of responsibility as you give your young child a sense of purpose and also you are beginning their love of nature.

Your young child is also learning patience during the slow-growing process. The excitement of the waiting process makes the moment when the fruit ripens, the vegetable or plant sprouts more special, enjoyable and well worth the wait!

  • Helps build their self-esteem and confidence

When your young child’s fruit ripens, their vegetable or plant sprouts they will feel a sense of achievement knowing their hard work has paid off and they can see the end result. This will help build their self-esteem and confidence. Also, young children will love to show their friends and family what they have achieved and when all the family are enjoying eating the food they have grown, it will be a very proud moment for them as they bask in the glory of their achievement which will further enhance their self-esteem and confidence.

  • Promotes development of fine motor skills

Planting seeds, filling the pot with soil, watering, weeding and picking the fruit or vegetable will help your young child develop their fine motor skills. These are essential skills needed in writing, drawing and colouring which will help your child develop their school readiness skills.

  • Stimulates all the senses

Growing fruit, vegetables or plants is a great way for stimulating all of the five senses promoting sensory development. Young children will feel the texture of the soil, the seeds and the plants, they will see the different range of bright colours from fruits, vegetables and plants changing colours as they grow, they will hear the butterflies and insects that are attracted to plants, they will smell the scent of flowers and they will taste the food they grow. This also has a therapeutic effect helping to reduce the stresses of childhood and is great for children with emotional or behavioural conditions such as anxiety and ADHD by increasing a sense of calmness and peace; promoting positive mental health and well-being.

  • Promotes a healthier lifestyle

With the majority of growing fruit, vegetables and plants taking place outside this encourages children to be outside more; increasing their activity levels and ultimately improving their physical health. Growing fruit and vegetables is a great way for your young children to learn about where their food comes from. It is also a good way to increase your child’s fruit and vegetable intake as young children are more likely to try the fruit and vegetables they are growing. This is great way for fussy eaters to eat fruit and vegetables whilst setting the foundation of lifelong healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

There is still time to sow and plant vegetables in late July or August, so why not try? Below are some things that you and your child could plant, watch grow and flourish:

  • Strawberries

Fill a pot (which has holes in its bottom for drainage) with compost to an inch of the rim. Make a hole, but not too deep and place the plant in. The plant’s crown (where the leaves emerge) should be level with the soil. Pat the soil down and water well. Ensure the pot is in a sunny spot, whether in the garden or on a windowsill.  It will take around 2 to 3 months for them to grow.

You can help make the growing process extra special and fun by having your child be creative and paint the pots, make name labels for the plant, create garden toys or a fairy section around the growing area.

  • Grass seed

If you want instant success, let your child sow some grass by sprinkling some seeds on a sparse area in the garden in late summer or on a damp sponge in a glass jar. Have them sprinkle water on it every day and they will see grass beginning to grow in 5 to 10 days.

Other fruit, vegetables and plants you could plant for this time of year include lettuce, tomatoes or peas or beans. It doesn’t matter what you grow it is making something grow that matters as it is a healthy, fun activity for your young child and you to engage in; strengthening the parent-child relationship and supporting healthy child development. For more fun activities that promote healthy child development check out the Shaping Ourselves and Our Children’s SOOC Facebook page this week July 26th to 30th.