Kids just want to have fun in the garden. They want to get their hands dirty - they have the instinct to know this will make them feel good, and it does! When we are in direct contact with the earth, soil or mud, a natural chemical is released in our bodies - this is commonly known as 'the happy chemical'. It makes us feel good it is a natural anti-depressant.
Children from an early age want to be outside climbing trees, exploring in rock pools, kicking up leaves and jumping into water puddles. They love it, but usually parents or guardians interfere and stop their children from all these activities. Yet at the same time they don't mind their kids looking at the television for long periods because it's a great way to keep them quiet! Essentially, what this means is they don't function, don't ask questions and don't get any exercise, but it's great to keep them quiet, as is the Nintendo and Playstation etc.
How many of us have a garden that encourages kids to be creative, use their imagination and have fun exploring? How many parents have given their children the chance to experience growing and eating their homegrown food? Do many children know anything other than over processed food? Are we content to allow this to continue?
May I ask you to do one thing? Go out and buy a head of lettuce from a supermarket. Now at the same time go to your nearest allotment and ask some-one for a head of home grown lettuce. Take both home and see which lasts longer, the home grown lettuce will be fresh for one day, the supermarket one can last for 2 weeks - is this natural? It has been laced with sprays to keep it fresh. Are you happy digesting all these chemicals? Well, we must be because we all buy from these supermarkets. We must ask ourselves, is it great for our health, and for our children's health?
As a parent have you spent time with your children looking for frogspawn, planting a snowdrop bulb, digging for worms, making a tree house, building a nesting box or picking blackberries? I think as we are post celtic tiger era, its time to do all these things with our children. If space is an issue, use pots and containers, use wall space, every area should be utilised to grow some thing! Start today - you will have great fun and your kids will thank you for the great memories. Come on, this weekend get out and about and get those hands dirty…it will make you happy!