Gardening with children is a great way to awaken their inquisitiveness and to encourage them to take an interest in nature and physical learning. Whether you have a garden, a small balcony or even just a couple of pots, creating a space for gardening with your children can be an amazing hobby for all your family. Gardening pushes children to learn about ecosystems and our responsibility to care for the environment, as well as being extremely rewarding when they successfully grow a plant!
Why is gardening important for children?
By participating in gardening, children are given the opportunity to observe the process of a seed growing into a plant. The process of photosynthesis can also be learnt at a younger age than taught in school, inspiring children to enjoy learning whilst at home. These things help your children to develop a concern for our planet, and how we treat it. Your children can also learn how to measure the growth of their plants, teaching them the basics of maths as well as science.
The increase in technology use for young people means spending time in nature is more important than ever. Together, we can introduce children to a world of nature that we all once knew as children. So, gather your children up and put on some gardening gloves, because we have seven child friendly garden ideas for you to try out!
Garden ideas for children
1. Create a wildlife-friendly garden
To do this, you will need to let a small amount of grass grow a little wild. By doing this, you are offering a safe place for bird seeds, wildflowers for insects, and a place for little organisms to live in.
Next, you should create a heap of compost in your garden. This will help your household to reduce waste, producing organic materials for your plants. A compost heap will most likely attract frogs, toads, worms and small animals, including birds. Fresh water is crucial. If you would like the wildlife you have attracted to stay in your garden, they will need you to provide them with a source of fresh water. If you have a pond, perfect! But if not, consider using a tub of water or a bird bath if you would like one.
Try to delay pruning your hedges. The wilder the garden area, the more wildlife you are likely to attract. Wildlife wants places that feel like their natural homes, so create this for them with unpruned hedges- providing birds places to nest and time for berries to grow!
For more information on wildlife-friendly gardens, read our blog, Attracting Wildlife: How To Create A Wildlife-Friendly Garden.
2. Make a mini jungle or a living den
Creating a mini jungle or living den with your children is a fantastic way to spark their imagination, encourage exploration, and create a deeper connection with nature. Whether you have a huge garden or a few pots indoors, transforming it into a green and vibrant mini jungle or living den can provide endless opportunities for adventure and learning.
Whether indoor or outdoor, allow your children to choose some plants, and contribute their ideas to the overall design of your jungle/den. This gardening idea not only empowers children to take ownership of their den but also encourages their involvement and interest in nature.
Your children can create this space using natural materials such as branches or vines for basic structure of the den, and then decorate it with flowers of their choice. They may go on nature scavenger hunts, looking for different sorts of leaves, flowers, or insects, which will encourage them to learn more about the natural world.
3. Paint Planters
Painting planters with children is a fun and creative hobby that blends art with gardening, allowing children to personalise their own plant pots. Painting older terracotta pots, containers, or even wooden boxes brings a colourful and personalised touch to your garden, or interior plant collection. This hands-on activity not only helps children to express their creativity, but it also educates them about the value of gardening and caring for living things
4. Build a rock garden
Rock gardens, also known as rockeries or alpine gardens, are designed to provide a beautiful area of rocks and low-growing plants. A rock garden can be adapted to fit any area, and to give your garden an oasis feel for summer! By simply arranging rocks of various shapes, sizes, and textures you and your children can resemble natural rock formations, resulting in an aesthetically appealing display.
Rocks could also be utilised to build walkways in your garden, giving depth and character.
5. Make a pond
As well as bringing wildlife into your garden, a pond is also a great thing to build with your children, for your children. Children will engage with the pond’s aquatic wildlife including fish, frogs, insects, and other animals.
A pond provides a natural environment for imaginative play. Children may imagine adventures and interactions inside this little aquatic environment by making up stories and situations involving the pond’s residents. This imaginative activity helps children develop creativity, narrative abilities, and social connection.
Building a pond from the ground up and watching it evolve into a thriving environment is a wonderful project for all the family.
6. Pick and press flowers
Picking and pressing flowers enables your children to make keepsakes. This easy activity is great fun for children, whether you have a garden, a nearby meadow, or even just a few potted plants.
Let your children find some flowers that appeal most to them (being mindful of prickly or harmful plants) and then press them using a heavy book or an iron. Check out these tips from the RHS on how to make a flower press.
7. Get Composting
Begin by explaining to your children the fundamental concept of composting in an age-appropriate manner. Discuss how organic waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, grass trimmings and coffee grounds, may be naturally turned into nutrient-rich compost. Highlight the environmental, plant, and soil health benefits of composting.
Involve youngsters in the creation of a composting system with a little compost container or even a designated composting spot in your lawn will suffice. Allow your kids to help you assemble the bin, select an appropriate site, and prepare the bedding material for the compost pile, such as dried leaves or shredded paper.
With this, you can assist them in determining what can and cannot be composted. Create colourful charts or labels to help kids remember which items go in the compost bin. Why not encourage your children to help with the household chores and take an active role in the separation of organic waste from the kitchen and garden?
Top plants for gardening with children:
Flowers: Choose from a plethora of low maintenance flowers that have different shapes and colours, including roses, bells, country style daisies, and stars. For more information, take a look at our Flowering Hedging category home page where you can look at varieties of Escallonia, Lavender and so much more.
Vegetables: According to Little Adventure Shop, the best vegetables to plant with your children are the following: cherry tomatoes, beans, carrots, potatoes and lettuce. These vegetables are easily grown, and only need a bit of sun, a container for some soil, and your children to get ready to do some gardening!
Herbs: To plant herbs with children, all you will need is one or a few containers (depending on how many you want to plant) or a little bit of space in the garden to plant some herbs, some compost, and some herbs. If you are using a container, you should make some little holes in the bottom, allowing extra water to drain itself out. Next, the containers will need to be half filled with compost, whilst doing this, there needs to be areas in the compost for air to get through it.
Place the chosen herbs in the half-filled container, then fill the rest of the container with compost. After doing this, all you and your children will need to do is water the herbs regularly. Some herbs that we recommend planting are: Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Chives and Sage. By growing these herbs, children can begin to learn where cooking ingredients come from, and it can be rewarding for them to watch you cook with things that they have grown themselves!
Plants: If you are unsure of which plants will be easy for your children to plant in your garden, look on our Garden Plants page, and feel free to give us a call to ask which plants will be most suited to your garden, whether its shaded or sunny. Every garden is a little different.
Tips for gardening with children
Give them their own tools
This will help your children to take responsibility for their own things and teach them what each tool does.
Dedicate their own pots or patch to be creative with
This gives your children responsibility for their own specific plants and will make them more interested in taking care of it if it is their own.
Choose child-friendly plants
Teach them as they garden
Whilst gardening, you should guide your children through the process of gardening and explain to them that if they take care of the seed they have just planted, it will develop into a strong, healthy plant. Or even a tree!
Show them the results of their hard work
This can be extremely rewarding as your children will feel satisfied with the work that they have completed because there is something to show for it!
Gardening with children is extremely beneficial for them. Growing plants, fruit, veg and herbs is a great way to introduce your children to gardening, which could become a hobby for them that they will enjoy for life. Some plants to get you started can be found on our Garden Plants page. Happy gardening!