A Guide for Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids

If you’re looking to share your love of gardening with your kids or grandkids, the opportunities are endless. But what are the best ways to make sure your gardening activities are engaging, not overwhelming? Here is a guide for gardening with kids.

Benefits of gardening with kids

Gardening with kids is a great way to teach them key developmental skills while sharing quality time outside. Gardening helps children develop fine motor skills, teaches them more about where food comes from, and encourages both physical activity and the value of healthy vegetables that will help them grow big and strong. As PBS Kids points out, studies even show that kids involved in gardening score higher in science.

Gardening together is great for grown-ups, too. Imagine how excited the kids will be to watch the plants they seeded grow! You’ll get the chance to rediscover your love of gardening by sharing it with your own little sprouts.

Tips for gardening with kids

The key to gardening success with children is to make sure it’s accessible and exciting. Here are a few great tips to make sure your kid-friendly gardening project is a success.

  • Get creative with fun activities to get your kids invested. Have them come up with plants they like, draw the garden of their dreams, or record their ideas in a garden journal.
  • Start small. The best first gardening projects for little beginners start with small gardens before stepping up to full landscapes. Try a windowsill container garden or herb garden, or a few plants in a single raised bed.
  • Get some kid-sized garden tools for a hands-on experience. Little watering cans, gardening gloves, and trowels will look adorable and allow your kids to contribute.
  • Growing from seed? Stick with the trinity for kid-friendly garden plants: large seeds, fast growers, high yields. Little hands will find these types of plants easier to plant, and you’re likely to see great results that will keep them interested. The Farmer’s Almanac suggests sunflowers, cucumbers and pumpkins, and morning glories, among others.

5 kid-friendly gardens

If your kids are ready to take on a bigger project than just a couple plants, these themed gardens are a great way to start. From play spaces to food sources, these kid-friendly garden ideas will get the whole family gardening.

Fairy Garden

For a small-scale garden space that will capture the imagination, consider a fairy garden. These delightful mini gardens combine diminutive plants with whimsical hardscaping elements like figurines and fairy doors for an enchanting scene. 

Herbs, miniature daisies, and succulents are perfect for a fairy garden, as are dwarf conifer trees. Decor can be bought ready-made or crafted from DIY kits and recycled materials – a perfect way to personalize your space with a fun garden craft.

Dinosaur garden

If your kids aren’t into fairies but you still want a garden that’s perfect for imaginative play, a dinosaur garden is a great idea. These gardens are fun and educational, featuring plants that have been around since ancient times and can handle the stomps of kid-sized dinosaurs.

The hardy plants common in dinosaur gardens have adapted to millenia of changing climates, so a dinosaur garden can also be a perfect shade garden. Ferns and mosses will set the scene for play while cycads and ginkgo trees provide a prehistoric focal point. While you’re setting up your garden, explain to your little one that all these plants were likely dinosaur food sources.

Looking to complete the picture? Add a sandbox, some dino statues or figurines, and dinosaur print-shaped stepping stones.

Pizza Garden

Pizza garden
Juan Rodriguez

Edible gardening activities are a great way to get kids interested in gardening, and what better way to do so than elevating your vegetable garden to cater to their tastes? A pizza garden focuses on the vegetables and herbs common in pizza to create a unique garden theme that will have your kids hungry for more.

In addition to tomato plants for sauce and herbs for flavor, your pizza garden can pull from all your favorite toppings, so have your kids brainstorm “recipes” for a fun planning process. Pizza gardens can look fairly traditional, but try creating yours in a round pizza shape for a fun twist. 

Sensory garden

Looking for a garden space that will draw your kids in for educational play? Sensory gardens create an immersive playspace that will captivate your kids and aid in their cognitive development. With edible plants, fragrant smells, and stunning blooms, these gardens appeal to the five senses.

A kids’ sensory garden can be a perfect hideaway for imaginative play, so consider creating a cozy space as an offshoot to a garden path. Bird feeders and baths make excellent accents, as do wind chimes and sun catchers.

Butterfly or pollinator garden

A butterfly garden or pollinator garden is a great garden project that will teach your kids about the environment while they plant seeds. The native plants and wildflowers common in these gardens will delight kids’ senses and attract beautiful butterflies and buzzing bumblebees to keep their eyes glued on the garden.

Fill your butterfly garden with a variety of plants that will provide shelter, nectar, and caterpillar food to draw in species that are local to your area. Planting in clusters rather than rows will make it easier for them to flutter around. If your children have bee allergies, avoid bee-specific pollinator plants and consider setting up your garden away from their typical play spaces.


Q. How can a garden aid my child’s development?

A: Allowing a child to help in a garden aids both their physical and intellectual development. Children have to use large and fine motor skills while gardening, and they have to employ some problem-solving skills, routines and discipline to help a garden thrive.

Q. have any educational benefits for kids?

A: Yes, children learn to read directions on seed packets and can learn simple measurement and mapping skills through gardening. 

The final word

Gardening has plenty of health benefits for young minds and bodies, and doing garden activities with kids is a great way to spend quality time sharing your passions with your little ones. If you’re brainstorming the perfect kid-friendly garden project, our landscaping pros are just a call or click away to point you in the right direction.

Main photo credit: Time’s Up | Flickr

Annie Parnell

Originally from the Washington, D.C., area, Annie Parnell is a freelance writer and audio producer based in Richmond, Virginia. She is passionate about gardening, outdoor recreation, sustainability, and all things music and pop culture.