We all know that we need encourage children to get outdoors and into the natural world to benefit their health and well-being. As we are born with an innate connection to nature, it makes sense that time in nature calms us and makes us feel good. However, experiences in nature also offer lots of learning opportunities for young children, as it gives them instant responses through all of their senses as they touch, taste, smell, see and hear what is going on around them. Furthermore, such connections tend to foster an ethic of care for the natural environment and the life systems within it, ensuring the future well-being of the planet.


The way I see it, gardening is an excellent way to provide children with experiences in nature and encourage interest in the natural world.

  • The garden is place for exploration and discovery
  • They learn how to respect and care for the living environment
  • Their natural curiosity is fostered when they see a seed turn into a plant, or encounter different types of plants that may surprise, such as purple carrots – so different to the standard orange carrots you buy at the supermarket
  • They discover a whole world of bugs and insects that inhabit different parts of the garden 

The garden can also be a place of fun and enjoyment where children share experiences, develop social skills, and foster friendships.


It can be a place of peace where they can sit and take time out from the business of their world.

However, I think one of the biggest benefits to gardening with young children is the lifelong skill of knowing how to grow their own food.

In order to do this effectively they also need to develop other skills too, such as observation and patience.

  • Observing when the garden needs to be watered and fed
  • Noticing the movement of the soil as it comes to life with bugs and worms to show that the soil is healthy and will produce nutritious food
  • Patience as they watch for the little seedling to poke through the soil after the seed has been planted

Further benefits to gardening with young children are that the garden can also be a place for healthy risk taking, both physically and emotionally.

Physical risk taking in the garden supports children to gain confidence in their own abilities and understand what they are capable of as they learn to use garden tools, how to weed, water, feed and harvest their crops.

Emotional risk taking in the garden supports children to take responsibility, show leadership, and courage. Children who struggle to control their emotions may learn self-control through the physical aspects of gardening. They may also develop friendships that they have been unable to develop in other situations. 

The benefits of gardening are endless and by starting early, we will equip children with skills that will serve them well in the future.

If you want to know more about the contents of this blog, or would like to find out more about Growing Kiwi Gardeners and how I can help you, then contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone on 021 0478 844

Other blog posts you might be interested in:

Education for sustainability through gardening

Soil, the key to a healthy earth

Keeping children safe while gardening