There are so many reasons to grow herbs with children!
Growing herbs with children is great fun and a lovely way to spend quality together. Herbs arouse children’s curiosity and interest as they stimulate the senses.
I believe one successful way to encourage children to eat healthily is to make them part of the process to grow healthy food. When a child watches a plant grow and change it gives them a reason to be excited about using it in a recipe to make food they can share with their family and be proud of.
A great place to start off gardening with your children is with herbs as nothing makes gardening more fun than when you get to eat the end result! It can also develop their independence and helps them to learn where food comes from. It may even develop an understanding of cause and effect.
Herbs are generally very easy to grow from seed and are fairly low maintenance so the children will not be disappointed with their plants dying with only a minimal amount of care. Also, the more you snip them the more they grow! Perfect for children. Caring for their herbs will help develop their fine motor skills. Patience and concentration will also be encouraged.
Young children have often not heard of the herbs that they eat in many meals. By starting a child’s herb garden you can teach the names of the different herbs and how they are used in cooking.
Growing herbs in pots teaches children a lot about plants and the life cycle of plants. It is a wonderful way to learn about nature and perhaps more importantly giving your child the chance to be involved in a life long hobby. Learning to care for something is also a valuable experience.
What better way to give your child a strong sense of accomplishment?
Try Growing Chives:
Chives are the perfect herb for children to grow.
Choosing a herb like chives is so easy it is difficult to go wrong!
Also, it can be done all year round just on the windowsill.
Simply sow the seeds and water regularly.
Other easy growing herbs:
You can then move on to other herbs such as basil, parsley or rocket.
Your child will love seeing the first shoots appearing. They can measure their growth or record it in other ways such as taking photos, drawing etc
Naming the herbs makes it extra fun for children.
There is also a useful list of easy to grow herbs by the BBC.
Their own pot
Allow your child to have their own pot. This could be a pot in the garden or a windowsill pot. Just ensure that it is in a sunny spot.
Make sure you put your children in charge of their pot to grow herbs. This enables them to take responsibility for watering and caring for the plants. They will become much more involved if they see it as their own and be so thrilled when the shoots start to appear.
Find other ideas here at How does your garden grow?
A great way to inspire your child is to grow herbs that they can then eat on their favourite food.
Herbs are so versatile. They are perfect for adding to child favourites such as pasta, home made pizza or on cheese on toast. They can be used raw or added at the end of the cooking.
Using herbs in Child Friendly recipes introduces the children to the smells and tastes of herbs and the fact that they have grown the herb makes it more likely they will eat the food.
Fresh herbs taste better and last longer. Herbs are full of vitamins and antioxidants so are extremely healthy for your children.
Get them cooking!
- Cooking is a skill that children can use for the rest of their lives.
- It often helps fussy eaters to try different types of food.
- Cooking together lends itself to spending time talking with your child.
- It helps build self-confidence as they feel like they are accomplishing something.
- Using fun and simple recipes sets them up for success.
- Children like using herbs to make the dish look pretty.
- It encourages them to try healthy foods.
- It helps develop a wide range of skills including those linked to maths, fine motor skills and language development.
This post at Early Childhood News has some interesting points to make.
Why not share the joy of growing things/cooking with your children?