How to Get Your Kids Excited About Gardening - Growing Family

Posted by Amber Williams on 15th May 2023

How to Get Your Kids Excited About Gardening - Growing Family

Kid excited about gardening holding a spade with soil

I’ve been gardening with my children since they were toddlers, and right from the start, it was obvious to me that kids are naturally well-suited to this hobby. Children love hands-on activities, they’re fascinated by nature, they enjoy being outdoors, and they have absolutely no issue with getting muddy – all of which makes gardening a brilliant activity for them to try.

Introducing children to gardening at a young age has lots of benefits too. You can share a family hobby, get everyone away from the screens, teach kids about nature, and explore important issues such as where food comes from and why we need to look after our planet.

Here are some easy ways to get kids excited about gardening and make it a fun experience.

Grow from seed

Small hands sowing seeds into cardboard pots

As adults, we tend to forget just how exciting it is to grow something from seed. Planting seeds and watching seedlings emerge and grow is a magical experience for children and an easy way to engage them with gardening.

There’s a very obvious reward too, in the form of flowers or tasty edible crops.

Some seeds are better suited to eager little hands than others. Avoid tiny seeds, and choose varieties that can handle less-than-perfect planting and growing conditions. Sunflowers, sweet peas, cosmos and wildflowers are great, or for veggies try mixed salad, runner beans and courgettes.

Try gardening for their senses

parents planting flowers with children

By its very nature, gardening is a sensory experience. The fact that kids like to be hands-on makes growing plants that really stimulate their senses an excellent option. This adds lots of potential for play and will encourage children to explore and engage with nature.

Think about your garden in the context of each sense. You could add in some tactile plants such as grasses, succulents, Lamb’s ears or fluffy ‘teddy bear’ sunflowers for little hands to enjoy, or introduce scent with fragrant herbs, lavender or sweet peas. You can explore the visual side of things by looking closely at plants, flowers and wildlife, while the wind and birds will create plenty of sounds to identify.

Creating a sensory garden – or on a smaller scale, a sensory border or container - is also a lovely gardening project to do with children. Encourage them to help turn the vision into reality by working with you on the design, making a list of plants and supplies, doing the planting, and taking care of the garden afterwards.

Grow show-stopping plants

Tall sunflowers in colourful flower bed

Growing plants with a wow factor is an easy way to encourage children to get stuck in with gardening.

Edible plants work well here; it’s exciting to pick your own salad leaves for your lunch, or pinch a strawberry from the plant and eat it straight away. Sunflowers are always a good option too; the blooms are seriously impressive, and you can add in a height competition to keep things interesting.

Another way to introduce the wow factor is to go for fast-growing plants. They help to avoid kids getting bored, plus it’s motivating to see a plant getting bigger quickly. Cress is one of our favourites; you can grow it indoors or outside and can harvest leaves within a few days. Micro-greens are ideal too.

Give them their own patch of land

parent and child digging in the flower bed

We tried this approach when our children were very small, and it was really successful. Giving your child their own part of the garden to design and look after is hugely exciting for them. It also provides them with a sense of responsibility and an opportunity to do things their way. Whatever space you have available is fine; it can be just a plant pot or a whole border.

Encourage your child to choose their own plants and seeds, design their layout, and decorate their plot.

When they’re up and running, you can teach them how to take care of their plants; having responsibility for this is a great way to keep them engaged.

Wildlife gardening

child holding a wooden bug hotel

Gardening with children is a fantastic opportunity to explore nature and the concept of taking care of wildlife. You can have fun with some exciting wildlife gardening projects that allow kids to observe and interact with lots of different species.

You could grow some plants that attract pollinating insects, build a bug hotel, add a bird feeder or nest box, make a mini pond in a bucket, create a hedgehog highway, or simply let an area of the lawn grow long to provide shelter. When your plans are in place, it’s time to see who comes to visit!

However, if you decide to approach gardening with children, do remember that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Observe what excites your kids, be led by them, and don’t get too hung up on the results.

By making gardening a fun shared activity that your little ones are excited about, you will sow the seeds of a lifelong hobby.

Did you like this blog? We teamed up with Catherine from Growing Family to show you just how enriching gardening with your little ones can be! If you're after some exciting garden projects to get stuck in with this summer, Catherine's blog '10 Brilliant Garden Projects To Do with Children' will give you some inspiration. 

You can learn more about Catherine and her family on their blog or follow them on Instagram to see what they get up to next!