How To Engage Children With Gardening

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:32 pm

Gardening can teach children a lot about themselves and nature. Here you will find educational tips and ideas for the whole family.

Gardening with children has a positive influence on the development of the little ones. Especially in Corona times, when many children have only limited care in kindergarten or school and some leisure activities are not available, gardening together is a good idea: The curiosity of the little ones is awakened, they take responsibility and get to know themselves as part of nature. In addition, they experience the different stages of development of plants and understand where the fruits and vegetables from the supermarket come from. The practical thing: Parents can find a spot for gardening with children almost anywhere. Often a small bed is enough for children to sow vegetables or flowers, and even the balcony box or the pot garden on the terrace are suitable.

The best plants for gardening with children

  • Vegetables: radishes, sweet peas, cocktail tomatoes
  • Fruits: strawberries, raspberries
  • Herbs: garden cress, chives, parsley
  • Edible flowers: nasturtium, violet, mallow

How do you get kids excited about gardening?

How To Engage Children With Gardening

A first step is observing nature together and discovering it through play. Parents can encourage their children to join them in the garden. Which flowers are just opening their blossoms? What animals are crawling on the ground? What fruits can be snacked on? Collect leaves, rocks, and sticks and go into more detail about the different parts of plants. Take the children with you as you work in the garden, too: This way, little ones will experience early on that care has an important impact on plant growth.

Make the garden child-friendly

Arousing a love of gardening in children starts with the garden design. Keep in mind that children especially love to harvest and plan a snack corner for them. Of course, they should avoid poisonous plants and pesticides.

Plan your own garden project

Even in winter, before the gardening season starts, you can plan a garden project with the children. Co-determination is an important factor in awakening interest in plants. Therefore, create a wish list together: What fruits and vegetables, herbs and flowers do the little ones like? Don’t take on too much: Growing one or two types of plants is usually enough to get started.

Find allies for gardening

Gardening is especially fun when you can learn to do it with other kids. So if you have your own garden, consider who could become their gardening accomplices. Or become part of a great community garden.

Playful methods around gardening

Gardening should be fun for kids, not work. So accompany your project with other educational activities such as creating a garden for animals, keeping alive old customs around the garden, telling garden stories, drawing with plant colors, to processing the harvest into beautiful gifts from the garden.

Gardening with children: What activities are recommended?

Over the course of the year, children can take on different gardening tasks – depending on their interests and age. For children of elementary school age, sowing seeds and planting young plants is often exciting, but they can also help with digging up or raking leaves. For younger children, watering, putting out seed ribbons, or even picking up fruits that are ready to harvest are good options.

A garden diary is a good way to document successes – and failures – with photos and notes. This is also something that should be discussed with the children: If the plants don’t receive the appropriate care, they will die. In the future, they can then be more attentive to their plants.

Gardening for children in the spring:

How To Engage Children With Gardening
Little child eating freshly picked up red radish, smiling mother looking on it – outdoor in garden
  • Sow summer flowers: nasturtium, marigold, sunflower, strawflower, maidenhair.
  • Sowing vegetables and herbs: carrots, radishes, parsley, chives, lemon balm.
  • Set pre-picked seedlings: Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce
  • Gardening for children in summer:
  • Harvesting currants, raspberries, gooseberries.
  • Sowing spinach and lamb’s lettuce
  • Harvesting vegetables: lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers
  • Harvest and dry herbs: basil, sage, thyme
  • Gardening for kids in the fall:
  • Harvest pome fruits: Apples and pears
  • Harvesting and carving pumpkins
  • Planting bulbs for spring
  • Collecting leaves and creating shelters for animals
  • Gardening for kids in winter:
  • Make your own birdseed and arrange it creatively
  • Grow cress on the windowsill
  • Growing hyacinths in a water glass

Which plants are suitable for gardening with children?

Children want to see results quickly – and that also applies to gardening. It is therefore advisable to cultivate fast-growing, robust and low-maintenance plants with the little ones. Radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds and sunflowers are ideal for sowing. Even if it takes a while for the seedlings to appear, the educational value is very high: when sowing seeds, children learn about the different stages of development that a seed goes through until it becomes a “finished” plant. But planting seedlings is also a great experience for children. Planting pick-your-own lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and strawberries is particularly popular. In addition, ornamental plants that appeal to the senses with their scent or soft leaves are also a good choice. In any case, be sure to use only nontoxic plants – or at least take protective precautions if poisonous plants are nearby. Also, be careful with plants that have thorns and spines.

Which tools are suitable for gardening with children?

Teaching children how to use gardening tools helps develop their motor skills. However, normal tools are often too heavy and unwieldy for the little ones. Depending on the size of the child, it can therefore be useful to use special children’s tools. For example, there are mini shovels and small watering cans that children’s hands can handle. Pointed and sharp-edged garden tools should be out of reach. If the children are older, they can also work with normal garden tools under supervision.

Indoor or balcony gardening with children

Even those who do not have a garden at their disposal can garden with children. Uncomplicated garden cress can be grown and harvested practically all year round on the windowsill. Since the kitchen spice is one of the light germinators, the seeds are only lightly covered with sandy herb soil in small pots, bowls or egg cartons. If you keep them well moist, the seeds will germinate after just a few days. There are compact-growing fruits and vegetables for the balcony – for children, for example, monthly strawberries or balcony tomatoes are highly recommended. If you want to grow potatoes together with them, you can use a planting bag or even a potato tower.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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