What this area needs, I thought, is a community garden. Community gardening programs aim to address problems of hunger and nutrition, but children who participate in gardening can learn new skills and benefit from diverse forms of physical activity. Children ages 5-12 should spend at least one hour of physical activity every day. Add a few minutes of planting, mulching, watering, weeding, or raking, and you’ve got a workout! In a study published in the journal HortTechnology, researchers assessed South Korean children about age 12, as they performed gardening chores and found that “gardening activities provided the children with moderate to high physical activity.”

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What I enjoyed about gardening was the responsibility in caring for plants, learning the effects of what would happen if I neglected them, and the importance of using the right soil. When I spent time indoors, my eyes were either glued to the TV or my head was buried in some book. Outdoors, my senses were more awakened. I savored the scent of fresh herbs and flowers, and my fingers tingled at the touch of budding crops. Gardening also taught me how to work cooperatively with other children and adults.

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