Why Children Should Garden
Looks like letting the kids get dirty in the garden is very, very good for them.
"Within 30 days of playing in forest soil and leaf garbage, Finnish preschoolers had increased the number of T-cells and much more varied intestinal bacteria. In a fascinating experiment, Finnish researchers have recreated the environment on a forest base on the playgrounds of four urban day care homes. They covered the playgrounds with forest soil, moss, meadow grass, dwarf moose, blueberries and ransberries and installed planting boxes for annual garden crops.
Child care workers instructed preschool-age children to play in the greenery and the soil for one and a half hours a day for a month. Their intestinal and skin microbes were analyzed before and after the experiment and compared with children from normal urban daycare centers with regular sterile playgrounds. After just 28 days, the diversity of their gut and skin bacteria increased dramatically, as well as their T-cellant and other important immune markers in the blood. It supports the hypothesis about biodiversity and the concept that low biodiversity in the modern living environment can lead to an uneducated immune system and thus increase the incidence of immune-related diseases."