Did you know that plants offer many mental, physical and emotional health benefits to kids of all ages? I can remember when I was young my mom bringing me to some of the local nurseries. There was something about the smell of fresh soil, the pollinators flying by and the puddles I would jump in that bring back so many great memories and learning experiences.
Some of us might dread the idea of teaching our kids at this point. After a year of homeschooling, virtual school or package after package of learning booklets, the last thing on your mind is probably more things to have to teach our littles. Following a curriculum can be exhausting but did you know there are so many ways we can include our children in things we do around the house that can be fun and educational for both of you.
Here are a couple plants and activities that will engage the kids and help beautify your home all at once.
Succulents are great little plants for your children to learn with. They are low maintenance, small enough to handle and look pretty too. Succulents are always my son’s go-to plant when choosing something for his room because they fit nicely on his window sill and if he forgets to water they are very forgiving. Succulents are also really fun to propagate. By simply laying petals down in a bed of moist soil and placing them in a window, new roots will soon emerge from the individual petals. Then, a little baby will start to develop. Soon you will be able to remove the original petal and voila! you have a new plant baby for your kiddos to watch grow, and they can say they did it all by themselves.
Terracotta pots $4.99
Positive Thoughts sign $7.99
Aloe is a fun plant to have in your home for all its medicinal purposes. Whether you babysit, have grandchildren or children of your own, we all know that scrapes, cuts and sunburns are bound to happen. Aloe can be used for so many reasons. Though many people think it is only to be used topically, did you know it has many benefits if ingested? Whether you include it into your morning smoothie or drink it mixed in with your water, Aloe can act as a digestion helper, detox, immunity booster and can help fight inflammation. Aloe is also often used for face masks. It can help dry skin, sensitive skin, acne, and dark spots. By simply mixing it with ingredients like honey and coconut oil you and your little ones can have a skincare day and both enjoy all the relaxing beneficial properties aloe has to offer.
Herbs are great starter plants for kids of all ages. Starting from seed is a great way to include your children in all the stages it takes to be ready to eat. Though it would be much easier for me to purchase my herbs already grown and ready to go, the kids have so much fun planting, watering and watching all their hard work pay off. We have made it a chore to check on our seedlings every morning to make sure they need watering and to take note of all the growth they made overnight. Once your herbs are grown, finding fun recipes that the kids can be involved in and using their homegrown goodies can be so empowering to their little minds to know that they grew it!
Hydrangeas are a great learning plant for your little ones. Hydrangeas love water hence the name “HYDRAngea”. If not tended to daily, the flowers will quickly wilt reminding those kiddos that they forgot their daily chores. However, they are very forgiving. Once hydrated, the fluffy flowers will soon bounce back up and continue to add that perfect burst of colour to your space.
Hydrangea (various prices)
A fun science experiment to teach is propagation. Propagation is a fun and easy way to not only show how new plants can come about but to give those little ones a sense of pride that they grew something all on their own. If you already have a substantial healthy mama plant, simply cut a clipping off a few inches past the first set of leaves. Try and find a node and clip right under it. A node will soon shoot off a root and begin your plant’s growing adventure. Once you have your clipping, ideally you should let it sit for a day so that the incision has a chance to callus, preventing it from rotting once placed in the water. Once everything is ready, simply place your clipping in a glass of water, cut side down, and set it in a bright, indirect window. Every couple of days be sure to switch out the water for fresh new water to prevent it from getting mouldy. Also, be sure not to add so many clippings to one glass of water as you need air space to circulate. After a week or two little roots should start appearing. Once substantial enough your little plant is ready to be transplanted into a larger vessel of soil only a few inches larger than your propagation tube. Tend to your plant regularly based on the plant’s care requirements and enjoy it for years to come. We have a large rubber tree in our home that started small and is now reaching the ceiling. Showing Maverick what such a small plant can turn into inspired him to grow all his own plants.
Learning can be fun AND educational. Teaching children how to care for, grow, and enjoy all the benefits that their little plant gives off, is a great way to boost your child’s confidence, imagination and gives them a sense of responsibility that they can take with them as they grow older. Mental health in children, especially nowadays is so important. Small activities like these are great ways to keep everyone at ease and those little minds still wandering.