Science of Parenting: Gardening with Kids

July 6, 2016, 11:02 am | Lori Hayungs, Laura Sternweis

Child GardeningAMES, Iowa – Want kids to eat their vegetables and do better in school? Get them involved in gardening, say the Science of Parenting bloggers from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Research has shown that children who have the opportunity to plan, plant and harvest are more likely to eat vegetables and to continue eating vegetables throughout their life time,” said Lori Hayungs, a human sciences specialist in family life.

Gardening also can help children apply concepts learned in school, Hayungs said. For example, writing and journaling are important garden skills, and math and measurements are necessary for garden design.

“If you and your family can have your own garden, that’s great; but there are other ways to get kids interested in gardening,” Hayungs said.

  • Head to the public library, because books are a great way to start the conversation, Hayungs said. “A book about vegetables can get you talking about your child’s favorites. Talk about the colors, feel and taste of veggies.”
  • Visit a farmers market or grocery store and talk about new or unusual vegetables on display.
  • Explore the nutrition and growing facts about different vegetables. Then make a list of favorites and begin to think about a garden growing plan.

In July Hayungs and the other Science of Parenting bloggers will dig deeper into ideas on how to garden with kids. They will explore resources available through ISU Extension and Outreach that can help families grow and prepare vegetables, and learn more about nutrition and wellness.

“No matter the time of year, it’s always a good time to start gardening with kids,” Hayungs said.

Learn more from tips on the blog throughout the month and in a brief podcast. Through the Science of Parenting,, ISU Extension and Outreach specialists share and discuss research-based information and resources to help parents rear their children. Parents can join in the conversation and share thoughts and experiences, as well as how they handle parenting responsibilities.

The Science of Parenting from ISU Extension and Outreach also is available on Twitter and via text message.

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