If you’re looking for the Best Child-Friendly Garden Ideas for kids, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Planting a Garden can be a fun activity for the whole family, especially if you get the kids 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!
And as you may already know, there are multiple proven benefits of gardening with children. According to Michigan State University, Gardening with Kids improves motor skills, sensory skills, and even literacy skills in young children.
So with all those attributes in place – Let’s Get Started!
First: Gather “Garden Tools” for Kids:
Before you start gardening with children, it’s good to buy some basic tools that you and your kids can use to tend the garden you create together.
These days, gardening with younger children has become so popular that most common garden tools are now 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 out in the new garden.
Additional Garden Supplies For Kids:
In addition to kids’ garden tools, you might also consider a few other essential gardening supplies such as string, scissors, and a yardstick or tape measure, to make gardening with kids easier.
These last necessary supplies will help you layout your garden and space the plants properly. Popsicle sticks and a magic marker will be useful in labeling 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.
Of course, you’ll also need 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 the work of gardening fully.
While you will do a lot of work yourself, it’s best practice to get your child to participate along the way. 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” 🙂
Next: Choose one of the 5 Best Child-Friendly Garden Ideas:
Let’s take a look at a few child-friendly garden ideas. Several types of gardens make great projects for toddlers and young children. The best type of garden for your kids will depend on the space you have available, the amount of work you’re willing to put into it, and what specific interests your children have.
1) Plant a “Vegetable Garden” for Kids
According to Texas A&M, Vegetable gardens have several advantages when it comes to gardening with your kids. To begin with, hardy vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, and root vegetables are all easy plants for kids to grow.
Vegetable gardening can also be extremely 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 kind of 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 to plant vegetables that will 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 full growing season.
Depending on your Climate, you can experiment with many different combinations of plants. To discover your plant hardiness zone here.
2) Plant a “Flower Garden” for Kids
Another really fun option for a child’s garden project is to grow a flower garden. Flowering plants are great for kids because of their bright colors and generally rapid growth. Most flowers are relatively easy to grow, especially if you grow from 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!
The Most Popular Flowers For Kids Gardens:
As noted by Thompson-Morgan seed growers – The Top 10 Easiest Flowers to Grow with Children are:
- Sweet Pea
- California Poppy
- Hardy Geranium
Flowers like vegetables are somewhat Climate dependent – So check the seed recommendations to confirm the best flower seeds for your planting zone.
3) Plant a “Butterfly Garden” for Kids
Butterfly gardens can 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 the native plants that act as their food sources.
Starting a butterfly garden for kids is relatively easy, but you’ll have to do some basic research on the butterflies in your area and what plants they’re attracted to.
According to Real Simple – The Best Flowers To Attract Butterflies Are:
- Butterfly Bush
- Native Milkweed
Keep in mind that to achieve maximum growth and butterfly viewing – Butterfly Plants should be placed in Full-Sun!
4) 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’re working with limited space since the plants are small and generally comfortable to grow 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 to the kitchen and show them how to use their herbs in different recipes.
The 5 Most Popular Herbs For Kids To Grow:
And, while children may not be super fond of “Herbs” – Parents and Grandparents Love Them!
5) Plant a “Combination Garden” for Kids
If you can’t make up your mind on 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 to create, as is a combination of vegetable and herb garden.
If you have enough space, you can even combine all four of the garden types listed above. Combination gardens are great options because it helps to keep kids fully engaged and keeps gardening more interesting.
Be sure to pay attention to the manufacturer’s Seed Planting Recommendations – before planting seeds in your garden.
Beginners Guide for Child-Friendly Gardens
Before you build a New Garden – Review these “Best Garden Tips for Kids Gardens”:
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
These are the Best “Locations” for Kids Gardens
The 4 Most Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Garden Location:
1) 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) Avoid Shade For Garden Location
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’re looking for 8 hours or more or direct sunlight each day.
With this said, not every yard has a spot with this much direct sunlight. If your yard is shadier, just be sure to take this factor into account when selecting your plants.
Whether you’re growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs, there are plenty of varieties that will thrive in 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.
3) Use Good Soil For Gardens
Sunlight isn’t the only factor that will determine how well a garden will do. Like growing Grass, Soil quality is also critical to growing seed. If possible, find a place in your yard with somewhat loose, dark soil, which is usually the best to grow in.
Unlike sunlight, there’s quite a lot you can do when it comes to improving 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 in some coarse vermiculite since this will help the soil retain water and ensure that your plants won’t become dehydrated on hot summer days.
4) Have Easy Access to Irrigation (Water) for Garden
Finally, you’ll want to select a spot that you can water easily, 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, it’s much easier to use a hose or a sprinkler once the plants mature and need more water on a daily basis.
To keep gardening fun and easy, make sure you situate your garden either near an established lawn sprinkler or in a spot you can reach with a garden hose.
How to “Protect 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 effective, but you must be willing to go to the work and expense of installing it.
For most home gardens, though, a rudimentary chicken wire fencing attached to metal landscaping posts offers the best combination of 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 are flowers but are actually weeds.
How Large Should You Make a Kids Garden
The size of the garden you want to make will depend on the amount of work you’re willing to put in. Keep in mind that gardening with toddlers can turn into a lot of work for the adults involved in the garden is too big, so keeping it small may be a good idea.
With that said, 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 like you and your kids can handle more.
One of the beauties of starting a garden with your kids is that the garden 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 in the springtime, though early summer should be fine. If you’re starting to get into autumn or winter, you may want to use the cooler months to plan your garden and get it put in at the beginning of the next growing season.
Picking the right time of year to plant a garden, will allow you the time to find good plants for kids to grow, figure out where you want your garden to be, and buy the necessary supplies.
In the meantime, consider getting your kids interested in raising plants by buying a few hardy indoor plants to take care of.
Some of the best easy indoor plants for kids include 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 garden, 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
In the end, we think you’ll find it’s well worth the effort to garden wich kids. The children will have a great time, and get to spend more time outdoors -pursuing a healthy activity they can take pride in.
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