The research is in, gardening, and interacting with nature is good for our health and well being, especially for that of our kids. Living near nature dramatically impacts our health and interaction with nature decreases the health gap between rich and poor. Contact with nature helps children to develop cognitive, emotional, and behavioral connections to their nearby social and biophysical environments. Nature experiences are important for encouraging imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development, and social relationships. (Read the article) Kids in particular suffer from nature deficit disorder and as I talk about in attention deficit disorder can be alleviated by encouraging kids to spend more time outdoors.
Other studies suggest that just looking at nature can improve our health and reduce the time it takes us to recover from surgery. So imagine what a difference a whole afternoon outside can do.
Getting our kids involved in the garden can have even more benefits. In her article Go Outside and Play: Four Reasons Why Exposure to Nature is Essential To a Child’s Wellbeing, Suzy DeYoung talks about the amazing health benefits of getting kids outside. According to the EPA indoor air pollution is the US’s number one environmental health concern. They encourage kids to get outside and play but I think that working in the garden can be even more beneficial.
So lets get our kids outside. Here are some resources to help:
From organic gardening:
From Permaculture Research institute – a great series of articles on gardening with kids
Great curriculum for children and gardening from Presbyterian Church
From National Gardening association
From Container gardening for kids
From Gardening Gallery
And in case you missed it here is a general gardening and spirituality resource list