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  • Ka Hana Pono

So kids have fun and eat a veggie or two, but what are they really learning from digging in the dirt





  1. Curiosity. The garden is a wonderful place to ask questions and satisfy kids’ natural curiosity by exploring questions like: What do worms do in a garden? Why do plants have roots and how do they work? Or, why do we have to water plants anyway?

  2. Patience. Nothing happens overnight in a garden. Watching seeds grow and change, seeing the seasons pass, and tending to tiny seedlings will help kids gain patience and learn the rhythm of each day, season, and year.

  3. Eye-hand coordination. There’s nothing like digging with a trowel and planting a seed just-so to improve your fine motor skills.

  4. Classification. Compare and contrast plants, group them by color, type of plant, purpose (flower vs. food) and which bugs like which plants. Along the way, you’re reinforcing basic math skills.       

  5. Budding scientists. To start on the scientific method come up with questions (What happens if I plant a pansy upside down? How long will it take for a tomato plant to grow?) then work on experiments that tackle those questions.

  6. Observation. Spend a few minutes sharpening their observation skills by focusing in on what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and what’s going on at that moment.

  7. Tracking. Keep track of rainfall, how fast the plants are growing, temperatures, and your child will learn how to manage change over time. Eventually, they’ll see patterns and consequences, like what happens when it doesn’t rain in the garden for a week.

  8. Sorting, counting, and more. Sort different leaves by shape, count the number of leaves on each plant and compare them, weigh the vegetables that come out of the garden, measure the length of bean plants growing up your house, find shapes in your vegetable plants, distinguish same and different, alive and not alive. It’s all basic math.


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