Gardening is often thought of as an adult leisurely activity. But who says kids and toddlers alike can’t enjoy the endless possibilities of such a relaxing past time? It is a great way to teach kids responsibility, patience, and love for the things we care about. It’s also a lot easier than you think! I have complied a list of great ways to make spring time gardening fun with your little one!
1. Let Your Toddler Help Choose The Plants
Take your toddler to the greenhouse or hardware store and let them help you choose what you’ll plant. If they have a say in what is planted, they will most likely be more interested in taking care of them. Knowing that they had a hand in nurturing these plants will give them a sense of accomplishment when it is time to pick them!
2. Use The Five Senses
Appeal to your toddlers five senses! It will give them something to gain from planting said plants. There are a variety of plants that are perfect for this. Finding them in your area may prove to be trickier, but you can use your own senses to improvise!
Many plants offer pleasant aromas that will entice your toddlers sense of smell. You can choose from a variety of herbs and flowers to fill your garden with variety! Below are some of our favorites and more common plants!
Herbs: Mint in all varieties including chocolate, Basil, Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Sage
Flowers: Peony, Snapdragon, Rose, Phlox, Butterfly Bush (great for attracting butterflies of all kinds), and Dianthus
Lambs Ear is the best for touching as it’s super soft leaves are the perfect plant for kids to explore. Plus, they are beautiful and make a great ground cover! Right now it is hard to find certain plants because it is early in the planting season, so I used my own senses and opted for a Chive plant as it offers a soft grass like texture!
Some other plants that are great for texture similar to Lambs Ear are Lavender, Santolina, Artemesia, Russian Sage, and Yarrow!
Everyone knows there are a multitude of plants that are great for eating. The most common being tomatoes. Tomatoes are great for toddler snacking and are such a fun surprise when they start growing in the garden. Let your toddler help you pick out their favorite vegetable and it will get them excited for when they start sprouting!
Colorful plants make gardens fun for little eyes. Bright plants offer a fun addition to any spring time garden and is the easiest of the senses to please! There is a huge variety of colorful plants to choose from, but some of our favorites are Ranunculus, Roses, Sunflowers, Pansies, Gerber Daisies, Marigolds, Zinnias, Tulips, Catmint, Irises, Asters, Peonies, Phlox, Poppies, Azaleas, Dahlias, and Geraniums!
Hearing is probably the hardest of the senses to accommodate, but your toddler will love hearing how certain plants make sounds. Look for Chinese Lantern plants or any variety of tomatillo. They have husks around the fruit they bear and are great to break off and crumble up to make noise!
3. Pick Out Colorful Pots
Colorful pots offer such an attractive element to your potted garden. You can also put these plants directly into the ground, but there is something about cute pots that make a garden fun! I was able to find several different colors and sizes of pots at my local hardware store and they are just the perfect size for a toddler. They are also plastic and my daughter loved helping me by carrying them around!
4. Prepare For A Mess
We should always expect it. Messes are inevitable with a toddler and gardening is no different! Just embrace the mess and allow them to enjoy the process. My toddler just wanted to play in the dirt and I let her. Hands are washable and so is the ground! I definitely suggest doing this outdoors and in your garden or yard if at all possible.
5. Let Them Help Care For The Plants
After the planting is done comes the real work. This is a great time to teach kids how to care for their hard work! Let them help water the plants and pick weeds. They will feel like they are accomplishing something when they are involved in the whole process. Make it a priority to get up in the mornings and check on the plants. Give them their water before the day gets away and the sun gets too hot for them! It will become something to look forward to every morning when it becomes routine!
Gardening is a fun and easy task to teach toddlers! It allows them to experience a multitude of different processes such as how plants grow, how they use the sun, and more. It also allows them to learn how to nurture plants for a food source. The things that can be learned from a single plant are endless!