Monday, May 13, 2013

Getting the Kids Outside in the Garden

As a child I loved playing in the garden, whether it was the neighbor's gardens, wandering the hills behind my grandmother's house in St. Charles, Missouri, or playing at home in the Seattle area, where it was typically raining when you played outside, which meant you were going to get covered in dirt and mud.

Child's toolset at
We live in world today where we tend to separate ourselves from the garden.

We sit at computers, while the kids sit in front of computers or video games and as the sun sets outside, perhaps not a moment was spent getting outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, let alone start working in the soil, tending potted plants, creating a walkway, growing a lawn, or starting flowerbed or vegetable garden.

But when you introduce a young child to working in the garden, the rewards are priceless.
Child's handset at

Give a child or kid tools of their own size, with a garden task they can enjoy as you guide them through it, and cherish the moment.

Science kits and gathering buckets with pockets also make great outdoor activity projects that get them exploring on their own.

As a child, my parents would let my brother and I bring frogs, toads and tadpoles from the stream outside into the bathtub with a bit of water, to watch them move about and make noise. We'd let them back outside again, but just the ability to investigate nature was unforgettable, and something you don't make time for as you get older.  
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Poodle Watering Can

Give a child a sandbox to play in, or a small plot inside the family garden to tend. Even a container with some vegetable seeds to grow can be a great learning experience for a child!

Learn to love to garden with your kids or your grandkids!

One of the most important things you can do for your children is showing them where their food comes from.

A great way to teach kids about vegetables gardening is to start a child's garden.

Rubber Ducky Gloves:
Growing corn, beans, onions, and cucumbers is fun and easy in a child's vegetable garden.

In fact, involving the kids in gardening is the best way to get them to actually eat their vegetables!

Six Tips for Wildlife Gardening with Kids

Share your love of nature with a child -by Kelly L. Senser  

Kids Weather Science Kit at
1. Visit places where plants thrive, such as nurseries, arboretums or your neighbor’s flower patch. As children explore, talk with them about the different sun, soil and water requirements of healthy vegetation.

 2. Survey the natural treasures in your own backyard—birds, bees, blossoms. Children are notably wide-eyed and open to new discoveries. Cultivate their curiosity.

3. Identify a spot on your property for a children’s garden, inviting kids to take part in its selection. Sedbrook recommends a small plot of land—no wider than a yardstick—that can be easily managed. Other good options include window boxes or containers.

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4. Add other wildlife-attracting elements to your habitat: water, shelter and places to raise young. Neely says her children had a blast last summer helping to build toad homes, brush piles, a pond and a bat house.

5. Provide kid-sized tools and teach young gardeners how to use them safely. Equipment can be found in most garden stores, but don’t overlook at-home options such as spoons and measuring cups.

6. Visit the garden with your kids often to make sure you don’t miss its rewards: flowers opening, butterflies sipping nectar, ladybugs eating aphids.

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Create Outdoor Play Spaces


Creating a play space in the garden specifically for the kids to create and play in is another fun option.

In this picture from Apartment Therapy, a small outdoor space is built with logs, planters and sand, to allow kids to explore, create and play throughout the day.

Or, add a sand box to your garden, such as this sandbox with dual shade/cover from Esschert Design, available at

Esschert Design Sandbox Available at

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