Top tips for gardening with kids
Getting out in the garden has so many benefits, especially for little ones. Kids are curious and gardening can teach them about the world around them – it’s a fun activity too!
You can get them involved in garden projects, from digging soil to planting seeds - whether you’re planning on growing flowers or vegetables. They’ll get plenty of exercise and some much-needed vitamin D.
Benefits of gardening with kids
Gardening is such a great activity for kids. From getting some fresh air to learning about plants and nature, gardening has so many benefits for kids. Here are just some of them:
- Keeps them busy and active, away from the TV or computer screen
- They’ll learn where food comes from and how plants are grown
- Kids love getting muddy and gardening can help with that!
- They’ll get sunshine and fresh air
- You’ll see their creative side come through
What you’ll need to get gardening with kids
When it comes to gardening, you don’t need lots of gardening supplies; just a few essentials will get you and the kids started:
- Seeds (we’ll explain more on this one later)
- Compost - we recommend multi-purpose as this can be used for most projects
- Pots and planters
- Set aside some old clothes that can be used for gardening, as you and the kids will likely get messy
- Wellies are a good shout
- On sunny days don't forget sun cream and sun hats - little ones always need protection from the sun
- Don’t worry if you don’t have lots of outdoor space, some of our ideas can be done indoors or in smaller garden spaces like balconies
5 gardening ideas to get you started
Here's our top 5 gardening ideas for getting the kids growing!
1. Start with gardening containers
Gardening containers are perfect for beginners and make a great first project. Here’s how it’s done:
- Buy potted plants - the hardest part (germination from seed) has been done for you, but you still have all the fun of planting and watching them grow into larger blooms
- Let kids choose from the colours and pretty smells in store
- Once home you'll need to plant these in larger pots to give them room to grow
- When choosing a pot, make sure it has drainage holes, then add multipurpose compost to the pot
- Gently remove the plant from its existing plant pot and pop in its new home
- Add some more compost around the plant so the pot is full, press firmly around the base of the plant to make sure it’s secure
- Add a sprinkling of water and place in a nice sunny spot to flourish
- Continue to water over summer, and occasionally use plant feed to boost growth. If the kids are doing this part, make sure they have adult supervision
- Kids will love seeing their plants flourish!
2. Growing your own fruit, veg and herbs
Growing your own fruit and veg is the perfect activity for kids, it will help teach them patience and where food comes from. The satisfaction of finally plating up their home-grown vegetables will be unbeatable.
How to choose which seeds to grow
The most important thing to think about is what they will enjoy eating at the end of it. If you engage and encourage children to plant bulbs and vegetable seeds and grow their own veg, they’re going to have an interest in eating them too
Tomatoes and strawberries and most fruit seeds are great ones to start with. They can be grown in growbags or containers and little ones will love getting stuck into the growing, and they’ll be so pleased with their harvest of healthy snacks.
Check out our growing guide blog on how to grow your own veg from scratch.
Top tip: Don’t forget to label up what you’ve grown!
3. Make a herb garden
You don't need to have an outdoor space for this activity. Most herb plants thrive in sunny conditions, so a sunny windowsill or sunny, sheltered patio is perfect. A great way to introduce your child to gardening and the outdoors is by getting them to plant a little packet of herb seeds and growing them in a pot or window box. It’s the perfect project to do indoors if the weather is miserable. Here’s how it’s done:
- Purchase herb seeds - choose herbs your family enjoys cooking with
- Add a layer of compost to a seed tray
- Sprinkle on a layer of chosen seeds
- Cover with a dusting of compost
- Water each day and watch your herbs grow!
It’s so easy, the kids can get involved in all of the steps above. To help you choose your herbs; popular perennial herbs such as oregano and chives will grow back the following year, whilst annual herbs like basil, coriander and dill can be sown continuously in intervals through spring and summer.
Make your own cress head
Cress is a brilliant plant for kids to grow and it’s so easy to get results – it can be grown indoors at any time of the year, in virtually any container and is ready to harvest in just a couple of weeks. It’s an easy plant to get creative with too, we’ve used eggshells for ours. The kids will love decorating the shells!
4. Their own mini allotment
A mini allotment or raised bed is perfect for older kids to get involved with. It’s a step up from growing herbs on the windowsill but still very much achievable with a bit of effort and your guidance. Raised beds are perfect for creating their own little area within your garden, especially if you lack garden space. Here’s how to create their mini allotment:
- Get the kids their own gardening tools and equipment so they can get stuck in
- Once you’ve decided on your area of the garden, make sure you dig up the soil to remove any weeds and get rid of any clumps. Add multi-purpose compost if needed. Our Forest Kitchen Garden Planter is perfect for little ones to reach
- Get the kids to add seeds of their choice. Always read the instructions on the packet. Then add a thin layer of soil on top and then water
- Once the seeds are planted, they can add some decor to make it their own - we love our veg patch sign
Mini greenhouses would also work great as their own mini allotment – and they’ll be able to get started earlier in the year, as the greenhouse will add that much-needed heat that seeds need to flourish.
5. Garden competition time!
There's nothing like a good garden competition to get the kids involved and help draw out their competitive spirit. Here are some fun ideas:
- Who can grow the tallest sunflower?
- Who can grow the biggest cucumber?
- Whose flowers will bloom first?
- Who’s first to water their garden patch each morning?
Keep a running score each week and make note on a colourful gardening chart.
Tips for getting them interested
Whichever gardening project you decide to get your kids involved with, sometimes little ones’ attention spans are limited, so if you’re struggling to get them engaged with gardening here's our little wins to help them on their way:
- Keep it simple. It’s important to adapt tasks for your child's age - if they’re struggling to grasp the task, be sure to offer support and guidance to make it simpler for them
- Their own tools. Having their own gardening tools will really help them feel independent
- Encouragement. Offer lots of encouragement when they try their best – even if it’s done incorrectly!
- Adapt as you learn. Continue to do what they enjoy, and rethink what they didn't enjoy so much. Adapt tasks as children get older and more experienced to keep them interested.
- Have fun! The more fun they have, the more likely they are to want to do more.