Create a Children’s Garden

Reader Contribution by Gretchen
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If children are part of your backyard farm, (even if they’re just visitors) creating a children’s garden can welcome them and encourage them to explore their own small corner of earth.  Helping children take part in the work of producing their own food benefits everyone.  Gardening not only teaches children about the process of growing things, but also teaches compassion, hard work, and ignites the  curiosity.  Working alongside children in the garden makes the experience even more powerful and is an can be an integral part of backyard farming. 

When you begin to design a children’s garden, remember that this space can be simply a traditional garden space where a child is the gardener, or an entire area dedicated to structures and children’s related play and gardening.  Based on your space, your time, the age of your child, and you children’s interest, you can design the garden space specifically to meet your needs.

A few Things to Remember

  • Before you get started, remember this is a children’s garden.  Make sure they are involved in the entire process (including the planning).  While it’s tempting to do much of the work yourself, make sure there is an area that is truly 100% there own.  While watching a child transplant the same plant everyday may be painful for you to watch, it is part of their process and learning, and will truly give them ownership over the space.
  • Resist the temptation to hide the garden in the back or in a shady space where plants won’t grow.  A child will place a greater importance on a garden if you show it is important
  • Encourage children to grow food.  They will often learn to love the food they grow even if they don’t like the store bought version. There is nothing as tasty are food right from the garden
  • Work in the garden (or a nearby garden) with your child – it truly is one of the best things you can do

A children’s garden doesn’t have to be just a plot of earth, and it can grow as the children grow.  Here are some ideas of what you can include in a children’s garden:
  • A stick teepee for growing beans or vines
  • A balance beam
  • Strawberry plants
  • Bulbs and seeds
  • Favorite Vegetables
  • A tunnel or fort
  • A texture garden
  • An aromatherapy garden with herbs
  • Sunflowers – a sunflower house
  • A sandbox
  • A quiet reflective spot
  • A bridge
  • A fairy Garden
  • A music wall
  • A Game
  • Natural Wood block
  • Table and chairs

For more ideas, check out this Pinterest board and visit me on Facebook

You can also get more ideas on planning this years garden in some of these recent posts:

Planning a Bee Garden
Winter Planning for Spring (and summer) Vegetable Gardens
Ordering Seeds

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