Gardening activities kids will enjoy
Gardening with children has many positive benefits, it is a great way to:
- Spend time outdoors
- Spend time together
- Learn practical skills
- Encourage sensory development
- Encourage mindfulness
Having all these positive benefits, gardening is a perfect way to get kids active and enjoying being outdoors.
But how do you encourage children to enjoy gardening?
Read on for 10 gardening activities which kids will enjoy
Encouraging kids to be involved in gardening can be thoroughly rewarding for the kids and their grown ups. Watching them develop their skills and tenderly grow and care for nature is heart warming.
Such a wonderful way for kids to learn about nature and also how to care for nature and the environment.
But in reality, even though we all know the benefits of getting kids (and ourselves) outdoors in the ‘fresh air’. Even just getting out into the garden is not always easy to do!
Yourself or the kids may not be too interested in gardening, or you may not have much outdoor space or time?
Don’t let this put you off! The following activities are all gardening related but are ideal for kids to be involved in. Non are overly time consuming and they can be adapted to suit different ages.
Most importantly they are gardening activities kids will enjoy, which means they will want to spend time in the garden. Motivating for the kids (and yourself!)
1. Prep your space
Prep your space – with the kids?! Preparing and tidying is not an activity you probably had in mind for the kids to be involved with but this will build interest and they will enjoy ‘getting the garden ready’
Have them help with sweeping and tidying, they may be more of a hindrance than a help (especially when they are riding through the pile of leaves you have just swept up) but they will really enjoy it.
Get them their own mini sweeping brush and rake, teach them about the garden as you tidy. How the water butts work, where the garden waste goes…..
Show them where you are going to plant, ask them what they would like to grow.
This builds an interest and makes them feel involved.
2. Up-cycle planters
Let them choose some planters or up-cycle old ones. Have a good look around your home and garden and think what could be used as planters. Old toys? Old wellies? Lots of things can be re-purposed into lovely garden planters.
Using paint, you can decorate old planters or containers, let the kids loose on their own creations. There are loads of outdoor colourful paints you can buy. I buy tester pots for small projects, the small tins go further than you think! Acrylics also work well or paint pens are easier for kids to use.
3. Make some garden decorations
Kids love garden decorations. Windmills, wind chimes, fairy houses – there are so many things kids will enjoy making to add to a garden. This will really make the garden personal to them and brighten up any outdoor space.
4. Choose what to plant
Show kids what can be grown. Choose some flowers or vegetables you would both like to grow.
Discuss which colours you like and where you could plant things.
Have a wander around a garden centre and chat about the plants or look online together.
Use this printable Garden Plan to help keep a track of your ideas.
5. Get planting!
When you have chosen what to plant, get the kids involved with planting. Whether your starting from seed or planting plug plants, kids will enjoy helping you.
Choose a nice day and make sure you have your tools ready and to hand. Kids love their very own tools and you can buy some lovely sets. Buy them a mini watering can and some gloves and show them how to prep the ground ready for the seeds or plants.
Read the instructions together and tell them what the plant will need to grow. Let them put the plants in themselves or sow seeds.
Older kids will enjoy making plant markers, you can buy some specific plant markers or just use lolly pop sticks.
6. Tidy up
Kids love helping to tidy up (if they are in the mood) and will enjoy stacking the pots and tidying the tools (if safe to do so of course). Show then how you clean the tools and put them away. Older children can help label and store seeds or bulbs.
7. Have a gardening chart
Kids like visuals and a child friendly garden chart can really encourage their interest in looking after the garden and how and when things will grow.
Keep it simple, have a tick list for any jobs which need doing and let the kids tick them off or add stickers.
Show when things need planting and when they will grow as well as adding interest for the kids. It will also be a handy checklist for yourself.
8. Set up their very own garden patch
If you have space, kids will really enjoy their own garden. You could make this a small world and add plants so they can play as they grow.
Add shells, rocks, logs etc to create different areas. Let them add their own crafted items or create some decorations or signs.
9. Plant some vegetables
Sometimes people are put off by growing vegetables, thinking it will be a lot of work or will take up too much space (myself included). But there are some veggies you can grow easily and in a small space.
Choose fast growing vegetables such as beetroot, reddish or beans. Herbs or salad leaves are great because they can be grown from seed and in small containers.
Thompson & Morgan have an informative article Top ten easy to grow vegetables, fruit and salad with practical tips and ideas.
Vegetables are great for kids to grow because they can eat them! They will enjoy picking them.
Prepare and cook them together, why not let them make their own recipes?
10. Grow some fruit
Strawberries, blackberries and rhubarb are quite simple to grow and offer some delicious pickings in summer. They will need some space to grow but if you have room, they are a great addition to any garden – especially for kids!
You can grow into the ground or in containers and if positioned well, don’t take too much looking after.
Kids will love picking the fruit come summer.
Keep them interested
Let the kids take some responsibility for caring for the plants, show them how to water and how to keep the plants healthy. When they see their plants growing they will feel a real sense of achievement.
As the garden grows, let them help with pinching plants or adding soil etc. Let them make decisions about where they are situated or planted.
Getting kids interested in gardening can have some real benefits for them and for yourself.
It is great to have a little helper in the garden and to have a shared interest in growing and caring for nature is really heart warming.
Try and gather interest in gardening during other activities. Reading age appropriate nature inspired books together can help them to visualise and understand how things grow.
Nosy Crow has a wonderful series of books ideal for younger children. A National Trust series of books all about growing things. The books have lovely stories and beautiful illustrations by The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler.
Younger children may get bored easily but don’t let this put you off. Set them up with a few pots, plastic tools and some soil and they will soon be entertained for a while.
Getting outside in the garden is so beneficial and easy to do and if the kids enjoy it, it is also motivation for the grown ups. They will soon be reminding you to water the plants!
Most of all it is a perfect way to spend time outdoors together.