Gardening is a great educational experience for children, and herb gardening is especially good for kids, because most herbs are very easy to grow. They generally require very little maintenance, and can survive through a little abuse and neglect.
Nature is a favorite subject for many children. They love to learn and explore topics that have to do with nature, so gardening is a very good learning experience that they’ll actually enjoy. They will be really excited to know that they’re growing something they can actually eat later!
Your children may not even know about all of the wonderful herbs that are out there, so it’s great to teach them about all of the different types. They can learn what each herb looks like when it’s fresh, what the herbs smell like, and the different uses for each type.
Don’t overwhelm your child. Children should start out with very small herb gardens. Just three to five plants is probably enough to get started. You want the herb garden to be a fun learning experience for the child, not a back-breaking chore!
Grow A Pizza Garden
You might want to start kids out with a “pizza garden.” You’ll help your child grow some of the herbs that are commonly used on pizza. Since children really love pizza, they should be able to relate to this type of garden very well. They’ll also have fun knowing what goes into one of their favorite foods.
A typical “pizza garden” will contain basil and oregano, and perhaps thyme and parsley. You could also let the child grow some of the other things that often go into pizza sauce, like garlic and roma tomatoes. If you want to make the garden larger by helping, you can also add some common pizza toppings like peppers and onions.
Scented Herbs and Flowers
Children will also enjoy growing specially-scented herbs. You can get all kinds of excellent herbs that smell like different scents. Flowers can also go well in this type of garden. For example, there are geraniums that are scented like orange, strawberry, lime, and apricot!
Different types of mint are also favorites with children, and they often enjoy chewing the leaves of plants like spearmint. We had mint growing in our back yard when I was a child, and I loved chewing on a leaf. Just be sure to tell your children they should never eat any plant without asking you first!
Learn About Varieties
You can also use herb gardening as a way of teaching children about the differences between varieties of the same type of plant. For example, planting several different varieties of basil can help kids understand that there can be many types of the same animal or plant.
You could plant globe basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, and purple basil. Your child can learn the difference and similarities, so they can see that things can be similar, yet very different.
An herb garden is a very good way to teach children responsibility. They’ll learn that they have to take care of their garden on a regular basis. If they don’t, they’ll see that there are consequences to shirking duties. When some of their plants start to wither and die, they’ll see how important it is to keep up with their tasks.
Something to Take Pride In
Perhaps most importantly, herb gardens can give kids something to be proud of. They’ll get a big boost to their self-esteem when they successfully grow something that you’re able to use in a meal, and they’ll enjoy learning!