If you’re looking for the Best Child-Friendly Garden Ideas for kids, we’re here to help! We think planting a Garden with children can be a lot of fun for the entire family, especially if you get your kids or Grandkids started early.
And whether you’re planting flowers, vegetables, or fruit vines, Gardening with younger children is a great way to have fun – and an early way to get toddlers interested in spending time outdoors!
As you may already know, gardening has proven benefits for a child’s well-being. According to Michigan State University, Gardening with Kids improves young children’s motor, sensory, and even literacy skills.
So with all those attributes in place – Let’s get started and show you:
How to Build a Child-Friendly Garden
Step 1: Buy a Set of “Garden Tools” for Kids:
Before you start gardening with children, buying some essential tools you and your kids can use to tend the garden you create together is good.
Gardening with younger children has become so popular that most common garden tools are available in kid sizes. With easy-to-use garden tools, you’ll meet your goal of: “How to keep kids in the garden longer.”
The 7 – Essential Gardening Tools for Kids:
Leaf Rake Tine Rake Shovel Hoe Watering Can Gloves Hat
And, If you’re helping children garden who are older than toddlers, here is a set of Larger Garden Tools for the “bigger kids” – also sold at Amazon. These garden tools will make it much easier for any child to help in the new garden.
Additional Garden Supplies For Kids:
In addition to kids’ garden tools, you might consider a few other essential gardening supplies, such as string, scissors, and a yardstick or tape measure, to make gardening easier with kids.
These necessary supplies will help you properly layout your garden and space the plants. Popsicle sticks and a magic marker will help label plants to know what you planted and where.
Gloves, hats, and sunscreen are helpful since you’ll want to avoid sunburn for your children while working in the garden. Perhaps the most fun tool for kids is a wagon (kid-sized, of course) that they can load and pull around their new garden!
Of course, don’t forget to buy whatever seeds or plant starts you want to put in.
Buying these gardening tools and supplies for kids is very important as it will allow young children to participate in gardening fully.
While you will do much work yourself, getting your child to participate is the best practice. This way, he or she will benefit from the good exercise and learn the value of hard work when it comes to large projects.
Video: How To Plant a Garden For Kids (From “Kids” 🙂
Step 2: Choose the “Type” of Child Garden:
Several types of gardens are great projects for toddlers and young children, and here are Five (5) of our favorite child-friendly parks.
Of course, the best type of garden for your kids will depend on the available space, the amount of work you have to put into it, and what specific interests (or tastebuds) your children have.
1) How to Plant a “Vegetable Garden” for Kids
According to Texas A&M, Vegetable gardens have several advantages when gardening with your kids. To begin with, hardy vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, and root vegetables are easy for kids to grow.
Vegetable gardening can also be highly engaging for kids since they will routinely get to harvest their vegetables as they ripen.
Perhaps the best part, though, is the nutritional value. This gardening makes it easy to help kids enjoy healthy, fresh vegetables. A toddler will almost always be excited to eat the vegetables he or she has grown, and the love of fresh vegetables you help your child develop now can turn into a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
If you opt for a vegetable garden, try planting vegetables that mature at different points in the year. Growing spinach in the early season, tomatoes for mid-summer, and squash for an autumn harvest will let you take advantage of the growing season.
Depending on your Climate, you can experiment with many different combinations of plants. To discover your plant hardiness zone here.
2) How to Plant a “Flower Garden” for Kids
Another enjoyable option for a child’s garden is to grow a Flower Garden. Flowering plants are great for kids because of their bright colors and general rapid growth, and most flowers are relatively easy to grow, especially if you grow from established plant starts – instead of seeds.
Perhaps the #1 type of flower to consider planting is the Sunflower – which grows up to 6 ft. tall and “moves” in the direction of the Sun. Kids love to watch these large plants grow and follow the Sun!
The Most Popular Flowers For Kids Gardens:
As noted by Thompson-Morgan seed growers – Here are the Ten Easiest Flowers to Grow with children:
Flowers like vegetables are somewhat Climate dependent – So check the seed recommendations to confirm the best flower seeds for your planting zone.
3) How to Plant a “Butterfly Garden” for Kids
Butterfly gardens offer hours of fun and excitement for young children. By planting native flowers that attract different species of butterflies, you can get your kids outdoors and teach them about the beauty and value of nature.
A butterfly garden will also allow you to contribute to a healthy ecosystem since many butterfly species have trouble finding native plants that act as their food sources.
Starting a butterfly garden for kids is relatively easy, but you’ll have to do basic research on the butterflies in your area and what plants they’re attracted to.
According to Real Simple Magazine – The Best Flowers To Attract Butterflies Are:
Remember that Butterfly Plants should always be placed in Full-Sunlight to achieve maximum growth and viewing.
4) How to Plant an “Herb Garden” for Kids
Like vegetable gardening, growing an Herb garden lets your child pick and use what he or she has grown. Herb gardens are great if you work with limited space since the plants are small and generally comfortable growing close together.
Most herbs are also reasonably hardy, making it easier for young children to raise them effectively. Once you help your kids harvest their herbs, you can take them right into the kitchen – and show them how to use herbs in different recipes.
The 5 Most Popular Herbs For Kids’ Gardens:
And, while children may not be super fond of “Herbs,” – Parents and Grandparents Love Them!
5) How to Plant a “Combination Garden” for Kids
If you can’t decide what kind of garden you want to start with your toddler, you may want to combine two or more of the above ideas.
For example, a flower and butterfly garden is straightforward, as is a vegetable and herb garden combination.
If you have enough space, you can combine all four garden types listed above. Combination gardens are great options because it helps to keep kids fully engaged and keeps gardening more enjoyable.
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s Seed Planting Recommendations – before planting seeds in your garden.
Beginners Guide for Child-Friendly Gardens
Use the 10 Easiest Plants To Grow:
- Snap Peas – Dependable Early-Season performer
- Sunflowers – Must-have for any kids’ garden!
- Radishes – Super-fast-growing vegetable.
- Marigolds – No-Fuss flowers with beauty – and help keep the bunnies out!
- Cherry Tomatoes – Oh, Sooo… Good.
- Pumpkins – For Autumn Harvest Fun!
- Carrots – Kids “Don’t forget to Eat your Carrots.”
- Potatoes – A Staple for Any Meal (Or is that just French Fries?)
Check out The Most Popular Vegetable Seeds For Gardens at Amazon
Find the Best “Location” to Plant Kids’ Garden
The 4 Most Important Locations when Choosing a Garden Location:
1) The Orientation to Sun
Ideally, you should pick a spot without direct obstacles immediately east or west of it. During the summer in most of North America, the sun will pass in an arc more or less directly overhead during the day.
If the garden location is partially shaded by trees, a house, or something on the eastern or western side of the garden, you’ll have less sun exposure and be limited to shade-tolerant plants.
Obstacles situated north or south of the garden are less problematic, but be sure to observe how many hours of sun the spot you’re considering gets before planting your garden.
2) Avoiding Shade
Plants need plenty of Sunshine to grow. In addition to picking a spot that’s well-oriented to the sun, it’s a good idea to avoid shade as much as possible.
An hour or two of shade in the morning or late afternoon is alright, but your garden should be in full sun as much of the day as possible for optimal growth.
Ideally, you want 8 hours or more of direct sunlight daily.
With this said, not every yard has a spot with this much direct sunlight. If your yard is shadier, consider this factor when selecting your plants.
Whether you’re growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs, plenty of varieties will thrive in 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.
3) Using Very Good Soil
Sunlight isn’t the only factor determining how well a garden will do. Like growing Grass, Soil quality is also critical to germinating seeds. If possible, find a place in your yard with somewhat loose, dark soil, which is usually the best to grow.
Unlike sunlight, there’s much you can do to improve soil quality.
If your yard doesn’t have great soil, you can amend that with organic material like manure, composted grass clippings, or even store-bought garden soil.
You might also consider adding some coarse vermiculite since this will help the soil retain water and ensure your plants won’t become dehydrated on hot summer days.
4) Easy Access to Irrigation (Water)
Finally, you’ll want to select a spot you can water efficiently, as you can’t count on natural Rain to provide enough water – or often enough.
While it can be fun for your child to water seedlings with a watering can, using a hose or a sprinkler is much easier once the plants mature and need more water daily.
To keep gardening fun and easy, ensure you situate your garden near an established lawn sprinkler or in a spot you can reach with a garden hose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do You “Protect a Garden” From Animals?
When you start a garden, you’ll need a way to protect it from grazing animals like rabbits and deer. The most effective way to accomplish this is to put up a small fence around your garden to keep the animals from getting in the first place.
A picket fence will keep out deer, but rabbits can usually squeeze through the gaps. Chain link fencing is adequate, but you must be willing to go to the work and expense of installing it.
For most home gardens, though, rudimentary chicken wire fencing attached to metal landscaping posts offers the best utility and affordability.
You can also spray a harmless chemical repellent around the perimeter of your garden to make it less appealing to animals for supplementary protection.
In addition, you may want to spray a weed killer around the fence perimeter to keep the weeds at bay. This article from Bob Villa will help you determine plants you thought were flowers but were weeds.
What’s a Good Size to Make a Kid’s Garden?
The garden size you want to make will depend on the work you’re willing to put in. Remember that gardening with toddlers can become a lot of work for the adults involved in the garden is too big, so keeping it small may be a good idea.
You also want the garden to be big enough for your kids to have plenty to do. Try a small garden of about 100 to 200 square feet for your first year, then expand it in the following years if you feel you and your kids can handle more.
One of the beauties of starting a garden with your kids is that it can grow as they grow!
What is the Best Time to Grow a Toddler Garden?
Like most gardens, the best time to plant a toddler garden is springtime, though early summer should be fine. If you’re starting into autumn or winter, you may want to use those cooler months to plan your garden, then plant the garden at the beginning of the next growing season.
Picking the right time of year to plant a garden will allow you to find suitable plants for kids to grow, figure out where you want your garden to be, buy the necessary supplies, and enjoy it until the snow flies.
In the meantime, consider getting your kids interested in raising plants by buying a few hardy indoor plants.
Some of the easiest indoor plants to maintain for kids are spider plants, succulents, and ferns.
These simple steps and garden tips should give you a good idea of how to start a garden for your toddler. From buying kids’ garden tools to helping your children lay out their new park, beginning a toddler garden can be a bit of work – or a lot of fun – depending on your outlook!
And, If you want to install plants that help keep mosquitos away – You might want to look at Citronella Plants.
Ultimately, we think you’ll find it worth the effort to garden with kids. The children will have a great time and spend more time outdoors -pursuing a healthy activity they can take pride in.
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Additional Reading and References: