Amazing Things Your Kids Can Learn From a Simple Houseplant

Amazing Things Your Kids Can Learn From a Simple Houseplant

You won’t believe the many unsung benefits a simple houseplant can provide.

By Lorraine Allen

Houseplants are not just beautiful, ornamental additions to a home. If you give kids a houseplant, or plant one with them, this new life can bring health benefits and encourage independence, emotional and cognitive growth, and promote scientific understanding and a greater appreciation for nature and the environment in children. Wow! Who knew? Here are the many amazing, important ways a simple houseplant can benefit your kids:

Experts from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, which houses the oldest children’s garden of its kind in the country, say that growing plants with kids promotes both problem solving and pride in their ability to care for and grow their own plant life. (Check out their handbook for parents to get gardening tips and activity ideas.) Even something as simple as regularly watering a houseplant teaches kids about the importance of water for all life – and the delicate nature of plants, too. Too much water will drown the roots, and too little will leave the plant to wither and die. Kids will learn to touch, feel, and observe the roots, leaves, and soil of a houseplant to learn how much water it needs.

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Caring for a houseplant also “teaches kids about responsibility and fosters independence,” says Alexandra Forrester of Kaleidoscope Garden Design, a company that builds and manages school gardens all around Westchester County in New York. “The experience of growing and caring for a plant helps kids to develop patience, and encourages them to use all of their senses to observe changes in their plant's growth over time, too,” adds Forrester. “Give your kids a journal to record their observations so they can draw pictures of the changes they see, write about them, or even create growth charts.”

Spring is the perfect time to plant something with your kids. All you need are a few seeds or a small plant, some soil, and a container with good drainage (either a hole in bottom, or gravel or rocks that will allow water to avoid pooling at the bottom of the soil). Finding the right spot in your home – one with enough light – should be your child’s first step in caring for his new plant. Ideally, kids’ houseplants should sit in a sunny spot in a bedroom where observations can be recorded first thing every morning and before bed each night. Kids will be excited to see the changes every day and will learn a lot from this “green” gift.

Have you ever given your kid a plant to grow?

Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

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