From Planting to Plate! 8 Important Reasons To Garden & Cook With Your Kids

Children learn through their senses – gardening and cooking are both perfect for doing just that. Think of the textures, smells, sounds, colours and tastes.
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Children learn through their senses – gardening and cooking are both perfect for doing just that. Think of the textures, smells, sounds, colours and tastes.

Herbs are plants that definitely lend themselves to sensory exploration and they are also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients.

Gardening and Cooking have so many benefits. They both:

  1. Improve overall health and well beingGardening and Cooking - Cutting chives in the garden
  2. Are educational
  3. Develop a range of key skills: sensory, fine motor, gross motor, reading, maths, science, cooperation
  4. Can give children a sense of responsibility and self confidence
  5. Help children to learn about cause and effect in a practical way
  6. Encourage children to eat and experiment with food
  7. Allow you to spend quality time with your children
  8. Are fun!

Gardening and Cooking - Rolling out the dough

Just remember to:

  • Keep gardening & cooking tasks simple
  • Give the children responsibility
  • Keep the children involved
  • Use child friendly tools/implements – this will help provide motivation and make it more fun
  • Have ‘special’ clothes – all kids love to dress up!
  • Keep it relaxed
  • Have fun learning together

Gardening

In addition to the benefits of gardening that I have mentioned above, I think there are two other key benefits:

Gardening can help redress the balance of children’s lack of connection with nature. This has got to be good in this age of technology!

It can also help children’s understanding about where food comes from – our modern society is often disconnected from food production.

Ideas for gardening –Gardening and Cooking - Children practising their gardening skills.

Spring is a great time of year to get out in the garden and there are so many activities you can do with children to get them in touch with nature:

Give them their own container or small space in the garden – raised beds can provide hours of fun and exploration for a child.

Create a miniature garden, taking gardening down to children’s eye level using their own toys/hobbies  eg create a dinosaur/fairy/ garden. I will be posting about a Peter Rabbit garden soon.

Get them growing their own food – choose fast growing foods such as herbs, radishes, onions or courgettes.

If you are on a budget, cut off tops of carrots, turnips, parsnips. They will grow again on a saucer of water or in a pot.Gardening and Cooking - Happy children planting herbs.

Make planting fun for the children by decorating pots, making labels etc.

Indoor gardening has many of the same benefits so if the weather is terrible, take growing inside.

Find further ideas on this post Encourage Little Green Fingers and

Why Grow Herbs with Children.

CookingGardening and Cooking - Making Cheese Straws - Toddlers love cooking.

Cooking is an essential skill for healthy lifestyles. The younger children are exposed to cooking, the better the chance they have to learn about nutrition and healthy choices. It is widely accepted that by eating better, children do better.

Ideas for cooking –

Choose a simple recipe together. You could try one from here. (All of these recipes have fresh herbs in which are so good for our health)

Go shopping/look in your kitchen together for the ingredients.

Use things you have grown together – this will encourage the children to eat what you have grown .

Repeat the recipe many times so that they learn to make it themselves and then can be creative by changing, adding things etc

Decorate a table mat, place names etc ready for laying the table.

Find further ideas on this post Cooking with your ChildrenGardening and Cooking - Children using their cooking skills.

Why not create a family book to store pictures, dates etc of what you have planted and chart the progress? You could then add recipes/meals you have created using the produce you have grown together.

You may also be interested in:

Why Grow Herbs with Children

Children Cooking with Herbs

Have you got any tips for growing things/gardening with children? Have you done any cooking using ingredients you have grown?

Cooking and Gardening are two key life skills that enable your children to learn whilst having fun.

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146 thoughts on “From Planting to Plate! 8 Important Reasons To Garden & Cook With Your Kids

  1. Such a wonderful topic to cover! I definitely agree that involving children in the gardening and cooking is so incredibly important. My son is only 13-months-old, so he doesn’t really know what’s going on yet, but I love having him in the garden with me. He likes to feel the different textures of the plants and veggies, and I use that time to teach him to be gentle. When I’m cooking, he’s veeerrry interested in what I’m doing, so I made him a little stove out of a cardboard box! Thanks so much for sharing <3 #PassTheSauce

    1. Thanks, Savannah! It is amazing how interested they can be at even such a young age, isn’t it? Your son will have green fingers and be a great chef 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you! Great ideas and advice! There’s nothing like getting children involved with the whole process of eating – from planting, to harvesting and then cooking! Thanks for sharing with #PasstheSauce

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more! And this is so well said – cooking is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. And there definitely is a disconnect with a lot of kids & nature. These are two really important things to share with the kiddies! Thanks so much for linking up with #bloggerclubuk x

  4. Great post and couldn’t agree more with it. I haven’t cared for a kid yet that hasn’t loved to help in the garden and cook it’s such a fantastic way to make the connection between whats growing and whats on our plate and it definitely helps to combat fussy eating. Thanks so much for linking up with #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

  5. Great post. My wife is planing to get out baby both cooking and gardening when they’re old enough. She always has our niece and nephew cook and help in the garden when they’re here and even my neighbours little girl. #KCACOLS

  6. Big F has been cooking with me since he’s about 18 months. He is now 2.8 and he is now actually helpful in the kitchen. He is an expert when it comes to chopping mushrooms!
    Though he enjoys preparing meals it does not make him eat them, but I guess it’s just his toddler ways.
    I would love to do some gardening with him, but unfortunately we don’t have a garden at our disposal. We did grow some cress though…

    1. Wow – great that he can chop mushrooms and is helpful in the kitchen. I don’t know if you have considered growing things like herbs on a windowsill? It just needs to be a sunny one 🙂

  7. You have given me some good ideas for the garden!
    We do a lot cooking but I really want to grow more of the herbs and vegetables we use. You did inspire me to make plant some herbs so that’s a start at least!
    #picknmix

  8. Such a great post, Sara. Caspian loves helping out in our garden now, though I think Daddy Long Legs is looking forward to actually being able to do real jobs out there, but simply pick up every pebble he can find 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  9. Love this post! We are doing a garden with my preschooler this year. He is so excited about eating food we grow.#Kcacols

  10. This is a lovely post. Bub isn’t quite the age for this yet, so I’m eagerly waiting as gardening and cooking/baking is on my list of things to do once they get older! You’ve given me lots of great ideas when it gets to that stage. I think it’s good that you’ve reminded us to have fun together instead of getting caught up in the mess like mothers would. Bookmarking this post to look back on in the future and can’t wait to grow all sorts in the garden! #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you very much! I am pleased there are some ideas that you like. I hope you enjoy the activities together in the future 🙂

  11. Great suggestions! I had my own area in the garden as a child & I loved it! I also used to grow tomatoes & strawberries in the greenhouse! #KCACOLS

  12. When we have a garden I will be doing a lot more growing together! Cooking however I am so much of a perfectionist in the kitchen I find it hard baking cakes together! I just take over. Some great tips here though thanks for sharing 🙂 #kcacols

  13. This is great and such an important tool for children to learn! We teach Mia (3) a lot about where her food comes from, she gets involved in planting and growing veg and also loves helping me cook! Its such an important skill for children to have 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  14. Being pretty rubbish at cooking and gardening my daughter does this with her nan when she visits her dad. She gas her own little vegetable garden I believe #kcacols

  15. Great tips and ideas! My boys often help with cooking and this year they’re attempting to start a garden from seed. I sure hope they’re better at growing things than I am; I’d love some yummy, fresh, produce.

    1. Thank you! Starting a garden from seed is such a fun and rewarding activity. I hope the boys enjoy it and learn lots 🙂

  16. I can’t wait to get out in the garden this year – it’s only a tiny patch but my son loves digging and getting involved. Thanks for sharing some good ideas ☺️ #kcacols

  17. Really interesting post. We have just built some raised beds so I will be trying to do some gardening with my daughter. #TwinklyTuesdays

  18. I love this post, I am thinking about taking my 9 month old into the garden this week – I need to weed the border. She’s young, but never too early to show her what gardening is all about. She’s also seen me cooking so many times, so I’m hoping that her watching me will mean that she enjoys it too. Claire x #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you, Claire. I think that children watching definitely helps. I hope you have fun in the garden together 🙂

  19. I so wish we had a garden! I totally agree with you about how important and useful it is for children. I might look into some of our local community gardening initiatives to get involved in with SB! #KCACOLS

    1. Community gardening sound like a great idea! Do you have any space for pots? Or you could perhaps grow things on a windowsill 🙂

  20. I’m rubbish at gardening but my mums good so Mini R can garden with her. I cook and bake though and he loves to pretend with a pan and wooden spoon. We’re getting him a kitchen for his second birthday. #KCACOLS

  21. Love this post, you make both accessible, achievable and make you feel like you want to do both with your little ones. We are planting veggies with my son and he is learning that plants need light and water to grow. We are hoping if he grows veg he will be encouraged to eat it more as he put in the work!#KCACOLS

    1. Thank you very much! I am sure it will help if he has grown it – it usually seems to. Planting vegetables with children is such fun 🙂

  22. This is a really insightful post and very inspirational actually. I should do more activities that stimulate the senses but Iv always been of the opinion mine are still too young for lots of these things. Although actually, I should probably readdress that and think that they’re never too young for the simplest tasks. Great post #KCACOLS xx

    1. Thank you very much! I find there is usually something that they can do to be involved and that is all they need to become interested and to learn new skills 🙂

  23. Great post, I’m not much of a gardner but I think my little man will enjoy it, who doesn’t like digging in the mud!Thanks for the great tips, the next time I’m at the garden centre I’ll be buying him his own little supplies x #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you. Exactly – I doubt there are many children who don’t like digging in the mud. Have fun at the garden centre 🙂

  24. All good tips, I try and try with mine and they are enjoying it so far, we have cayenne and also sweet peppers on the go at the moment for them and little G’s sunflower is doing well:) thanks for the tips x
    mainy – myrealfairy

    #KCACOLS

  25. We used to love growing veg in the garden as children. Every year we had a sunflower competition too to see who could grow the tallest flower. Great activities for kids to encourage them to get outdoors! #KCACOLS

  26. Fab ideas. My little 9 month old sat next to a plant pot while I put the bike in the shed! I turned my back and he had his hands in the soil. Impressed that he didn’t eat it encourages me that we can garden together in the future!! #kcacols

  27. These are great ways to include your child in gardening and cooking, creating memories that will last forever as well as help shape your children in to who they will be. My preschooler loves cooking and gardening. She has even told me that her favourite thing about going to Grandma’s house is that “she lets me do her dishes”! Bahaha. But really, kids just want to do what they see us doing.
    #KCACOLS
    Tori
    http://www.themamanurse.com

    1. Yes, very true. I also agree with what you say about creating memories and shaping them. Gardening and cooking can both help develop such a wide range of skills and I am help towards leading a healthier life style 🙂

  28. Reading as part of #KCACOLS – I love gardening with my daughter. This weekend we have planted carrots, lettuce and peas, seeds that she chose herself from the garden centre. It is such a peaceful time and as you say, gets away from technology and back to nature. If we are lucky, we tend to spot the odd ladybird too, which is very exciting!

    1. Yes, I know how exciting it can be to find a ladybird! Such a great thing to be doing, planting seeds and then reaping the rewards 🙂

  29. I wish I was better at gardening and cooking as I would like to teach my little girl about healthy food. feeling quite inspired by your post and today’s good weather – I might turn out to be green fingered yet 🙂 I love your ideas and pics, clearly showing how much fun gardening and cooking together can be x #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you very much. I am so pleased that the post has inspired you! Using pots/tubs is a really easy way to get started as they are easier to control and you could have them right outside your back door 🙂

  30. fab post. we have planted our veggie patch for the second year now and my kids love it. we’ve planted carrots, spuds, lettuce and broccoli. #KCAOLS

  31. I always love your ideas. We spent yesterday getting our son’s garden sorted, it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon and are now growing mini pumpkins and tomatoes plus some flowers (on his request). i completely agree with your list of benefits at the top for both gardening and cooking #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you very much, Lucy! Ooh, mini pumpkins sound like a fab idea! Nothing better than fresh tomatoes either 🙂

    1. I hope you like some of the ideas – you could always start with a pot as they are so easy to control and can make it more accessible for the children 🙂

  32. Love this – all so true. I am terrible with plants but quite good in the kitchen. Luckily we have a gardening Granny so that helps. I should put a bit more effort in to the herb garden though, especially as the toddler is quite handy with a watering can! #KCACOLS

  33. Okay, so if you asked my husband he would say ‘Jane hate’s gardening’…But I would say, ‘I appreciate gardens but I don’t have any interest in cultivating them.’ I prefer DIY and homemaking and the instant results you get from that.

    That said, this post even had me thinking ‘this sounds lovely.’ I do love herbs and using them in cooking. I think making up some herb posts with my 9 year old and 13 year old, that I can keep on the windowsill ie. inside 😉 sounds like a lovely plan.

    Don’t worry, RIchard does all of the involving kids in the garden business so they do appreciate it and enjoy getting involved.

    I really enjoyed this post and it has certainly motivated me to do more! #KCACOLS

  34. some fab ideas here – thanks so much for sharing! looking forward to the peter rabbit garden post…I saw a mini dinosaur garden which was fab #KCACOLS

  35. Lovely post – thanks for sharing. There’s been a lot about getting gardening into schools and it would be great if time could be freed up a bit to do that – I don’t need convincing of the benefits! Your post outlines how important it is for children to understand and be involved in this process – really enjoyed reading!

    #KCACOLS

  36. I imagine most children would love to be able to eat what they themselves have grown, what a sense of accomplishment for them. We are growing plants / flowers with our primary one class in school, and they are loving seeing them grow.
    I hope to get a garden of my own soon so I can do it myself too. I do love herbs, especially home grown ones.
    Amanda. #kcacols

    1. Exactly! Great for children to be doing that in school. I wish there was more of it in the curriculum 🙂

  37. Lovely post. We have an allotment and can’t wait till our daughter is a bit older so she can get involved in growing the veg and helping to prep it when she is older.

    Azaria
    #KCACOLS

  38. You are right, kids need to be taught how to cook from a very early age. I’m really lucky, in that I was raised with parents who believed in growing and cooking their own food. We’re about to take things a step further by getting a couple of chickens, because there is nothing better that fresh eggs for breakfast!

  39. We have raspberries growing in our garden and I have really enjoyed watching them grow each year and seeing how excited my children are to pick and eat them! It’s nice to see them start to learn about where their food comes from. x #KCACOLS

  40. This is a great encouraging post. Our herbs are growing strong on our allotment (the chives are about to flower) and BB and I are about to make a fairy garden #KCACOLS

  41. Fantastic idea! I love the thought of kids connecting with Mother Nature. Kids these days spend too much time on their digital devices.

    #KCACOLS

  42. I’m really keen to encourage my little boy in both these areas so these are great ideas for me! That said, I’m very much the gardener, while my husband is the cook – cooking is not my forte! At least we have both areas covered between us! #KCACOLS

  43. I love planting and gardening but where we live we don’t have a garden anymore although we do have a small patio and balcony so perhaps I should try some tubs #KCACOLS

  44. OK, I’m going to coyly admit it I hate gardening! But reading this has really inspired me; I want Josh to have decent food when he starts eating properly and what better way than to do our own! Thank you for sharing xx #KCACOLS

    1. I am so pleased it has inspired you. Having a couple of pots is much less daunting than full on gardening. 🙂

  45. This is lovely – I’m not a gardener but I love to cook and agree with all your points – I find also that if the children have been involved in planning and cooking the meal they seem to appreciate the taste a little more and are more willing to try new foods. It’s just so rewarding involving children in these activities. A lovely post and lovely photos #KCACOL

    1. Thank you very much! Yes, definitely very rewarding. They develop such a range of skills and like you say, encourage healthy eating 🙂

  46. While my son may only be 13 months old, I love taking him into our garden and talking with him about the plants. It’s so incredible to see how fascinated he gets with the different colors and textures. This was such a wonderful post, and touches on so many necessary skills that people seem to forget about. These are definitely things I want to make sure I am conscious about teaching my children. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you so much. I hope it has helped with a few ideas – we have had lots of fun doing the various different things. I am hoping to encourage an enjoyment of nature 🙂

  47. I love the idea of taking gardens down to the level of the child. I’m growing carrots with NG (we planted them yesterday) and I thought last night about introducing her plastic penguins to the scene … I think we will do that today! Lovely post; very thought-provoking. Thanks for co-hosting #KCACOLS and look forward to the Peter Rabbit garden post!

  48. I love planting, gardening, and cooking with children. I truly believe these are skills that all children should be taught. Not only does it make older children appreciate the hard work it takes to get the food to our plates, but allows them to benefit from their hard work-eating it 🙂 #KCACOLS

  49. I like cooking with my daughter, it is a great way of spending time together. We haven’t grown any vegetables together but we will be having a little who can grow the biggest sunflower contest between us. She has already been googling how to grow a good sunflower lol.
    I think we might have to try growing some herbs to use in our cooking, thank you for these great ideas.
    #KCACOLS

  50. I never realised there were so many benefits to gardening. I think this may be something we want to take up in future (if I can get over my fear of worms *shudder*) #KCACOLS

  51. We absolutely cook and garden with our kids! Both of my kids can cook better than some adults I have met! And, that is some thing I am very proud of! Knowing how to cook is so important. We also take our kids picking a number of fruits throughout the summer at local farms. It is a great time and the kids learn the value of fresh foods! #KCACOLS

  52. My toddler loves helping mummy with the gardening, although she’s not particularly good at it she has her own little section of pots now. The only tomatoes she will eat are straight off the plant! None of this shop bought rubbish for my two year old, no… Haha
    #KCACOLS

  53. I love gardening with RJ – any excuse to dig and make a mess! He also likes snipping weeds! And helping Daddy mow…#KCACOLS

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