5 Reasons Why Gardening Helps Children Feel Happier

By 6/10/2022 12:37:00 PM ,

Did you get out into a garden for National Gardening Week (June 5-11). While we don't have a personal garden, we do enjoy some "garden" time at our NYC Community Gardens and Botanical Gardens.

5 Reasons Why Gardening Helps Children Feel Happier

Sometimes during special days, we even get to help plant seeds or water the flowers and veggies. Being out in the garden is an activity both my son and I enjoy. There's nothing like the soothing feeling of watching and helping something grow.

During the Summer, I encourage families to visit a community garden or your cities Botanical Garden. If your not sure about gardening, then maybe these reasons will help change your mind.

I connected with Sandi Schwartz, Author of Finding Ecohappiness, and here's what she shared.

Tips to Add Gardening to Kids Lifestyle

As we enter the summer season, many parents are wondering how to keep their kids busy without being glued to screens indoors. One way to get them outside is to start a family garden. Growing fruits and vegetables together as a family can be a fun, engaging, and calming activity.

Sandi recommends the following steps to add gardening to your children’s lives:

  • Start a family garden in your backyard. 
  • If you do not have the space for a garden, consider starting slow by growing a few herbs on your windowsill or one vegetable at a time in a large flowerpot. 
  • Engage your children by buying them their own gardening tools, asking them to pick out the types of produce they want to grow, and using the produce you grow to cook meals together. 
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer in a local community garden. 
  • Register your children for a gardening club or start your own in your community.

In addition to the general physical and mental health benefits of being outside in nature, gardening offers a healthy distraction, provides a chance for some light exercise, encourages children to eat healthier, and builds community.

There are also some incredible new discoveries about how soil can help improve mood.

Finding Ecohappiness Book Trailer

5 Reasons Why Gardening Helps Kids Feel Happier and Calmer

Schwartz’s book highlights five reasons why gardening can help children (and families) feel happier and calmer:

Healthy Distraction.

Engaging with a garden helps children feel more mindful and get lost in the moment, distracting them from their worries. One study showed that after 30 minutes of gardening, participants’ stress hormone levels dropped, and they felt happier after the activity.


Gardening also provides some light exercise from digging, lifting, carrying, and bending up and down. Exercise helps kids feel better as a result of their body producing endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Exercise also reduces the level of stress hormones in the body like adrenaline and cortisol, helping kids feel calmer.

Eat Healthier.

Gardening can motivate kids to eat healthier foods that make them feel better. When kids are invested in growing their own fruits and vegetables, they feel more connected and want to enjoy the “fruit of their labor.”

By encouraging them to eat healthier through gardening, they will hopefully choose foods that nourish them instead of junk foods filled with sugar. It’s important for children to eat less sugar for numerous health reasons, but also for their mental health. Sugary foods can increase anxiety and even cause kids to feel gloomy.

Builds Community.

Whether it is family bonding in the garden, sharing produce and gardening stories with friends and neighbors, or volunteering in a community garden, that social interaction also plays a major role in boosting kids’ well-being.

Experts explain that the most important way to feel happier is through positive relationships, so gardening can provide a vehicle for children to connect with others over a healthy hobby.


Recent research has found that the simple act of touching soil can reduce stress and improve mood. This is because a bacteria in soil called mycobacterium vaccae has been shown to stimulate areas of the brain that produce serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel better.

It thrives in soil that is enriched with organic matter like fruits and vegetables. Researchers have found that eating trace amounts of soil on garden vegetables helps people manage stress and enhance brain function.

Sandi's book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer is available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, IndieBound.org, and wherever books are sold.

For more information, visit - www.ecohappinessproject.com

Facebook - www.facebook.com/GetEcohappiness
Twitter - www.twitter.com/SandiMSchwartz
Instagram - www.instagram.com/getecohappiness

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  1. I like the touching soil to release stress.

  2. This would be good for my daughter . She has anxiety and I feel this would be good for her . Natalie natbelinsky@veeizon.net

  3. All these five reasons are fabulous. I especially like Eat Healthier. I think picky kids are more likely to try a vegetable that they have planted, grown, watered, picked, or even just seen growing in a garden!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. Recent research has found that the simple act of touching soil can reduce stress and improve mood.

  5. My little niece and I love to check out her plants etc

  6. Growing a garden can build bonds for sure. Patricia E

  7. Eat healthier is a really good reason.

  8. Eat healthier is something we should all do.

  9. Would love to share this with my grandchildren. thank you