Backyard Gardening Tips For Kids

Spring is almost here and time to start planting. Get your kids involved in backyard gardening by following these helpful tips.

When did you start to garden?  Was it when you were an adult or did your interest in gardening begin as a child?  Kids are naturally curious about the world around them and introducing them to the wonders of gardening is a hobby that kids readily embrace.

As a mother of five and grandmother of one, I have taken time with each of my kids to expose them to the joys of gardening.  Along the way, I have picked up a few tips that will help you share your love of gardening with the children in your life.

child_plant_nursery

1. Take your kids with you to the nursery and allow them to pick out their own plant(s).  Children usually select plants with colorful flowers.  Guide them toward flowering plants that flower often and that are easy to grow such as geraniums, petunias or violas.  Introduce them to a ‘fun’ plant like snapdragons, whose flowers open and close like a dragon’s mouth.  Fragrant plants like alyssum are also a good choice for kids.

Child's_flower_garden

2. Choose a highly-visible area in which to put your child’s plant so that they can see it whenever they go out in the backyard.  Allow them to help you dig the hole and plant their new flowers.  Adding a plant marker with their name on it will increase their sense of ownership of their new plant.  You can use popsicle sticks or plastic spoons as plant markers.

children's_garden_tools

The small blue shovel pictured above, has been used by all my kids over the years. My son was excited to be able to help dig a new vegetable garden alongside his dad.

3. Make child-sized gardening tools available for your kids.  Kids have a hard time using tools that are meant for adults, which can lead to frustration.  Smaller-sized tools put gardening tasks within their short reach.  

child's_vegetable_garden

My son was so excited that his cauliflower grew that he pulled out the entire plant!

4. Give your children their own space to grow vegetables.   There is something so rewarding about growing and harvesting your own vegetables.  Well, kids like it too.  In fact, it is a great way to get them to eat vegetables that they might otherwise never touch.  Start with easy vegetables such as carrots, radishes and leaf lettuce that will all come up easily from seed.  If you don’t have an established vegetable garden, you can easily install a raised bed that can be homemade or purchased in kits.

child's_container_garden

A container filled with various herbs makes a great small garden for my granddaughter. She then helps her mom cook with the herbs.

5. Show kids how to care for their new plants.  Kids are eager to care for their plants, so teach them gardening tasks such as watering, deadheading, and trimming plants.

Backyard gardening with children is a great way to help them learn about nature while also teaching them responsibility for taking care of their plants.  But I think that the part I like best is being able to spend time outdoors with my kids sharing my love for gardening.

*For an unusual gardening idea to do with your kids, check out “Cardboard Gardening”.

  1. Rhonda Wright says

    I have a Great Niece that i care for during the week while Mom and Dad works. I havealreaxy bought her plastic shovel and rake bucket and small hand raKe. When I was doing my spring rakeing and cleaning I foumd it was a great way to get her involved. She loves it.

  2. Rosalie McDermid says

    Gardening with four grandchildren was fun even in pots on the porch. First, pick out the flowers together at the garden store. Next, feed the birds! Then plant, working in pairs to mix new soil and set small starter plants evenly around each pot. Don’t forget to help grandma with clean-up! (Watch the hummingbirds together as they come in to feed as soon as we finished.)

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