5 Ways to Garden with Toddlers

Gardening has always been one of my favorite hobbies. When I was little, I planted a marigold in a cup for my grandma as a Mother’s Day gift, which she later transplanted to her garden. I always loved that marigold, and she always told me it was the best one she had ever seen!

Having that memory, I am so excited to share gardening with my daughter. So, at just 15 months old, she has been spending time in our garden with me—and she loves it!

5 ways to garden with toddlers

Here are 5 ways I am teaching her to garden:

1. New Tools

First, I got tools her size! We got this cute gardening set. It is cute, durable, usable, and easy to hold with no sharp edges for little hands!

2. Get Hands-On

Give her a job she can do. There’s nothing like getting hands-on to learn, and nothing cuter than a joyful, muddy toddler. Plus, it keeps her occupied so that she isn’t getting into anything she shouldn’t. Since I don’t want her directly handling the seeds yet (choking hazard!), I’ve found other things she can do to help. Dig a hole? She’s on it! Water everything? Maybe a little too heavily, but she loves it.

3. Sensory Bins

Here I can teach her basics, let her do all the work, and with no need to worry. She can dig, plant (rocks!), pick (fake flowers!), weed, water, and rake all she wants! She loves to play in it and copy what I do in the garden. I’m hoping some of this knowledge comes in handy throughout the summer as we need to weed, and eventually pick the produce! 

4. Plant!

Since she doesn’t quite understand seeds yet, it has been fun to actually let her plant seedlings! I let her handle larger, more mature plants like petunias we purchased on a flat. They don’t need to be handled as gently, and she can help me pot them to place around the patio. I showed her how to break up the roots a little, how to place in the pot, and then water them. She loved picking up the new plants from the flat and placing them in the pots, watching me do the rest, and then watering them afterward! 

5. Kid-Friendly

Mostly, I’m focusing on keeping it fun and easy. We planted very little this year, focusing more on things that are kid-friendly. Easy to plant, grow, and harvest! This way I don’t have to spend as much time focusing on the garden, but rather playing and learning with my daughter. Plus, it makes it easier for her to help me and to be hands-on! Corn, carrots, squash, and tomatoes.

I realize this summer she may not remember everything, or be able to do everything, but it has been so much fun together already. I’ve got big plans for the coming years—from painting rocks or wooden sticks as plant labels, to teaching her about eating what we’re growing. I’m already planning her own corner of the garden for when she gets a little bigger—sunflowers, fairy gardens, and all!

What are different ways your children help you in the garden?

How do you use that to teach them?

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