Arbor Day and Gardening Provide an Education and Entertainment
What outdoor activities do you enjoy as a family? Maybe you bike, run or golf. Those hobbies are fun, but this Arbor Day, discover the entertaining and educational benefits of gardening. It’s a hobby that improves the environment, engages your family members and prepares your kids for real life.
What is Arbor Day?
Always the last Friday in April, Arbor Day started in 1872 and is known as the Tree Planter’s holiday. One million trees were planted the first year. Today, Arbor Day celebrants plant an estimated 18 million trees annually around the country.
Your family can join in the celebration. Trees clean the air and prevent soil erosion, so they’re very important to the environment. Your children will breathe better and have a planet to pass on to their children when you plant trees in your backyard or community together.
If planting trees isn’t possible, care for existing trees
- Assemble and install a drip irrigation system to water a tree
- Remove grass from tree bases to prevent damage from your lawn mower and line trimmer
- Apply a two-inch layer of wood or leaf mulch around tree bases
- Prune dead branches off your trees
Start an eco-friendly garden
Arbor Day lasts 24 hours, but gardening is a way your family can continue caring for the environment throughout the summer. If you don’t have an established garden, dig up a corner of your backyard and begin planning what you’ll grow in it. Then give your kids child-sized tools, and let them help you. The process is simple — and a great learning experience:
- Choose seeds and seedlings from your local garden center
- Dig holes to plant the seeds or seedlings
- Water the garden regularly
- Pull and dispose of weeds as they crop up
- Pick insects off plants
- Carry kitchen waste to the compost bin
- Clean off tools before storing them in your shed
- Gather and enjoy eating your garden’s bounty
Teach your kids life lessons as you garden
Kids love getting dirty, watching plants grow and working with you in the garden. But they may expect to plant a tree on Arbor Day and hang a tire swing from it the next day or eat fresh tomatoes off the vines of freshly planted seeds. That’s not how life works. While gardening, teach important character traits like patience, and look for other important life lessons you can teach, including:
- The importance of protecting and caring for the environment
- How to work together to achieve a goal
- How to be nurturing and care for plants from seed to maturity
- Independence as they make planting, watering and caring decisions in their corner of the garden
- Responsibility to start a job and finish it
Gardening benefits your entire family. Your kids can learn valuable life lessons in the garden and it also provides benefits for your family and for the planet.
First, it’s affordable. You probably already have tools on hand to plant, cultivate and harvest your own garden; if you don’t, options are available for just a few dollars. It’s also convenient. Simply step outside, walk a few steps and get to work. Third, it gives your family quality time together. Talk, laugh and learn as you work in the fresh air away from the TV and computer. Finally, it’s eco-friendly. You’ll improve the environment while you garden as a family.
Even if you don’t plant a tree this Arbor Day, you can nurture a garden and your family instead. It’s an educational and entertaining way to improve the environment and enjoy the outdoors together.
What will you do to celebrate Arbor Day this year? Tell us in the comments section below.