Gardening with Kids: Simple Ideas for Every Family
Gardening is a great way to relieve stress, give back to nature, and provide food for your family. But gardening can also be a great way to spend time as a family and teach your children a new skill. Whether you’re planting your first ever garden or are a seasoned pro looking to get your children involved, check out our simple tips for gardening with kids!
The Benefits of Gardening With Kids
Along with giving you an extra set of hands in the backyard, there are endless skills learned from gardening for your kids to gain.
Gardening Gets Kids Outdoors
Many people love gardening because it gives them a reason to get outside and breathe in fresh air. In comparison to buying a swing set or other outdoor equipment, a garden can be a budget-friendly way to keep your kids busy outside. Gardening provides structured physical activity and can even help children develop key motor skills.
Gardens Teach Science & Nature
From covering the basics on how plants grow to looking at bugs and worms with a magnifying glass, the opportunities for learning from your garden are endless. Growing a garden over the summer is a great way to supplement science lessons taught in school during the year.
Growing a Garden Teaches Kids Responsibility
Gardening with kids teaches responsibility and sustainability. Consider putting your kids in charge of watering and weeding their sections of the garden, so they can see how their actions matter. Gardening together can also be a great baby step before committing to a pet. Your kids will get a glimpse at how much work it takes to care for a living thing, and you’ll get an idea of how willing they are to help.
Gardening Highlights Sustainability & Food Waste
Growing a vegetable garden can also make you and your kids more aware of your family’s food waste. Try to eat (or share with neighbors) everything you grow this summer for a zero-waste garden. Plus, your kids are much more likely to eat vegetables they grew themselves!
Plants for Kids to Grow
While you can include your children in just about any gardening project, some plants may be better-suited for kids. In general, we suggest looking for plants that are:
If you’re new to gardening, we recommend trying some of the following flowers, fruits, and vegetables:
- Sunflowers are a family-favorite because they grow quickly and will tower over even the adults of the family by the end of the season.
- Pumpkins are another exciting plant to grow because of their size. Once you pick your pumpkins from the vine, you can roast and eat the seeds, and carve the remaining shell!
- Lettuce is fast-growing and a great plant for kids to study. They should be able to see noticeable differences most days in the appearance of their seedlings all the way up until harvest. Plus, children may show more interest in greens and salads if they grew the ingredients themselves!
- Potatoes and root vegetables like carrots and radishes may not be as visually interesting, but they’re easy to grow even if you don’t have a green thumb. They also present an opportunity to discuss the differences between vegetables that grow above ground and below ground.
- Tomatoes are a classic backyard garden plant for good reason — they are easy to grow and are absolutely delicious! Try smaller grape or cherry tomatoes that will be easy for kids to pick and eat.
- Herbs and other scented plants are a great option for kids as well. Lavender, mint, basil, and chives can all provide interest for kids in the garden.
Tips for Gardening with Kids
Gardening should be a fun experience for everyone involved. Check out these tips for how to make growing a garden with your family a positive learning experience.
Start from Seeds
At your local home and garden center, you’ll likely find both seeds and small seedling plants for sale. Don’t be afraid to try some of each! Seeing a plant transform from a tiny seed into edible food can be a valuable experience for kids — but choosing seedlings for trickier plants can set you up for success as well!
Put Safety First
Plastic garden tools designed for children can be dull and difficult to use. But before you hand over your trowel, shovel, or rake, be sure to cover the basics of safely using them. This will help you keep your garden a positive and safe environment for your entire family.
Keep it Age-Appropriate
As you plan your garden, keep your kids’ ages and interest levels in mind. Your garden can grow in size and complexity as your kids get older, but even a small garden will provide loads of fun for small children. While gardening with kids offers great learning experiences, don’t be afraid to step in to keep it a positive experience.
Make It Fun
If your children aren’t interested in getting their hands dirty, have them paint terracotta pots or create plant markers with popsicle sticks and markers. Before you know it, they’ll be out in the yard helping you dig new garden beds!