Children are naturally inquisitive about the world around them, wanting to know why and to see how things work.
Involving your children in planning and growing a garden is a great way to teach them about nature and the outdoor interactions that take place every day around them.
Additionally, including your little ones in the planning and maintenance of a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden is a good way to teach them about healthy eating.
There are several things to keep in mind when you garden with children, and allowing for mistakes and experimentation is important.
Here are several tips and ideas to help you plan a children’s garden in your own yard:
Include Your Children
Including your child in the planning process is the most important part, yet so many parents skip this.
Let him or her help you decide where their special space will go, what they want to plant, and what the overall design will be.
By including them in the design and planning stage, you are more likely to keep them interested in the continued maintenance of their little plot.
Engage Their Senses
Choose plants and accessories that will engage your child.
Flowers with large, bright blooms such as sunflowers and zinnias always attract the attention of little ones. Include plants that are very fragrant like lavender, basil, and honeysuckle.
All these plants are very easy to grow and maintain, so including them in a child’s garden is ideal.
Planting a vegetable plot, or just a few vegetable plants throughout a larger area, is a great way to encourage your kids to grow plants and eat their veggies at the same time.
Plant salad greens, which grow fast from seed to harvest. We try to only eat salad greens that we grow ourselves in the summertime, to avoid as much chemical exposure as possible.
Make sure you give your young ones as much space as possible. Where limited space is an issue, add features to your growing area that make vertical growing an alternative.
Encourage your young ones to relax and spend more time in their little plot by including areas for them to rest or hide out, such as hidden benches or small pathways that wind through the area.
Make it fun
Depending on your child’s interests, help them choose a design with a theme in mind. Some of the best children’s gardens that I have seen include interactive elements that the kiddos are encouraged to add to.
Here are ideas from some of the best:
The area can include water elements. Try a birdbath, and fill the bottom with glass marbles that attract both children and butterflies.
As the season progresses, help your kids keep track of how many and the different types of butterflies their special area attracts.
Another cute idea is a fairyland design. Fairies and flowers have been associated with each other for years. Find a book of fairy folklore and read through it with your child to determine what plants flowers fairies prefer.
Help to design and create miniature fairy homes to include throughout the space.
For the adventurous type who’s always looking forward to their next outing, incorporating areas that your children can play in is essential.
Sweet pea or green bean teepees are always a hit.
Using bamboo or large sticks, make a teepee structure that can accommodate one or two children, and plant pole beans, sweet peas, or another climbing plant at the base of each stick.
As the summer goes on, the teepee hideout will get better and better.
For children who want a vegetable plot, having a theme in mind is a good idea here as well. Try to grow at least four different salad greens for variety, and include cucumbers and tomatoes too.
To make it interesting, you can divide your space into a tic-tac-toe board and have them plant a different plant in each square. This is sometimes referred to as square foot gardening. Another vegetable-based idea that kids love is a pizza garden.
Help your child lay out a circular design that will be divided into slices, with a different plant growing in each piece like tomatoes, basil, and oregano.
Don’t set any limits on their ideas, try the things your children come up with, and let them add their own special touch to the garden for the most rewarding and memorable experience.
What are some projects you’ve tried with your children in the garden? What are their favorite flowers, and their favorite vegetables to harvest? Let us know in the comments!