Enable JavaScript to ensure website accessibility

What Kids Learn in a Garden– How, Plants, Skills, Methods

It is essential to practice great habits whether you have two kids or twelve. Incorporate outside time into your routine to reinforce learning at school or home. Learning how to garden will benefit you and provide specific times for you and your children to focus on an outside experience without the pressure of other responsibilities tugging at your attention.

Gardening helps children strengthen their physical coordination and mental skills and learn about plants and animals. Kids feel accomplished in the family garden because it provides lovely family bonding time and teaches them plant practices to keep a garden fresh and abundant.

There are many best practices out there that seem overwhelming and impossible. Trust that you know what is best for your family and personal situation. Keep it simple and small at first, if needed, and expand your goals as you see fit. Start with pictures, or walk through a park to ignite curiosity. Remember that you are part of this experience too. Try to find something exciting that will keep you, the parent, involved enough to keep going. Keep it interesting. Keep it fun. Eat your veggies!

How to Get your Kids into Gardening

Get through the drag of morning chores and list-making before committing to outside activity, so you are as prepared as you can be to spend a day in nature.

The best way to teach kids about gardening is to start yourself. It is unlikely they will understand what a trowel is if you don’t go to a hardware store first or have a picture handy. Start building supply lists to grasp what you want to try and whether it is a good fit for your personal situation.

Let them choose the plant they are interested in planting!

Show them pictures of garden tools small plants, or go to a local farmers market to introduce them to the concept early. Give them picture books or the ads in the mail for cutting and pasting projects.

If your children are older, try to incorporate learning into this process. Teach them skills like adding specific plant prices to see how much their dream garden might cost.

Try the Five in a Row book list. It is a great program, and there is so much valuable information to learn through the series if you genuinely want to commit to outside learning.

Gardening books are also a great way to start. Books about plants and gardens are always full of pictures and engaging even if you don’t understand. Lean into your curiosity and go check one out at the library. See what applies to your situation to learn more about making it happen in your environment.

Decide whether you want to start outside or inside. I recommend outdoors because being out in nature is very valuable, but try a small pot, dirt, and a small inside plant if you are hesitant. If you go the inside route, I recommend doing it out on the porch or concrete to encourage outside time.

Learn about the areas outside that get full sun, partial, or full shade. Look around and see which areas are rocky, sandy, mulchy, or muddy.

Use your hesitancy to figure out what your key to success is. You might find that the very thing you are worried will cause you to fail will be the same thing that changes your route to success. Learning what relationships plants need will provide you with a path to create a unique outside masterpiece.

Benefits of Gardening for Kids

Gardening teaches your kids physical and mental coordination. They will learn how to identify plants, compromise and communicate better, and improve their physical strength.

Physical Coordination

dumping, stacking, pouring, pounding, filling, sprinkling, brushing, balancing, spacial recognition

Children, and probably you as well, will learn physical coordination from gardening. Everyone will be learning a different skill, so remember, encourage your family to try any skills they struggle with through calm reinforcement. You may be using a shovel or a till to dig a space for a tomato patch while your child practices putting on garden gloves.

Encourage children to try things one step at a time. For example, if you are pouring mulch, don’t pressure them to pour mulch if they are still adjusting their garden gloves. Set aside a small container just for them to dump when they are ready. That way, they know that you are continuing with your goals while respecting their unique process.

Provide age-appropriate trucks and toys if they are uninterested in the garden but keep them close. Show them that you will be patient with the steps they are struggling with and provide help if needed.

If you feel rushed or distracted, take a deep breath and engage your senses. Walk around your yard to stay focused and kind. Try stacking rocks, garden stones, or moving materials you have in your storage space. Get out items you need to prepare for this activity and make it easy to identify and retrieve things you need while physically engaged.

When your child needs your help, you will be able to see where you are at in the process while assisting your child with small tasks like closing lids or filling trucks.

You are a role model for your family. If you continue to make this a fun family experience, they will continue even after failing.

Mental Skills

listening, repeating steps, focus, memory, emotions, time-management, distance, animals

Gardening is a prime opportunity to teach your kids how to follow instructions. They will not listen to everything you say, but be sure to provide them small opportunities to be part of the process to learn to follow small sets of instructions. Use your best judgment as a parent to guide them in a way that shows you care about their learning and the garden area. They will learn with time how to focus and gain memory skills.

Children learn to struggle and then succeed. Kids see adults do tasks every day, and when they feel compelled to try, they often fail. Explain to them that it is hard to carry large bags of dirt; a plant will probably rip when mismanaged. Show them an alternative if they are struggling but show them that the small tasks add value to the more significant projects.

Teach them to look at the sky to judge the weather and time of day. Outside provides terrific opportunities to learn about clouds, weather patterns, and the time of day. If it gets hot and the sun is bright in the sky, I recommend trying a lunch break. When the sun falls behind the houses, explain that it will be evening soon.

Animals are a huge part of outdoor learning. Kids learn about animals all the time and outdoors is an excellent opportunity for you to help identify animal species in your area so you know when they are most active and what they eat. Gardening will probably create a relationship between you and your animal pals. Hopefully, they aren’t too needy!

Teaching Kids About Plants

Plants encompass many huge topics. Keep it small and make sure that what you introduce to your family applies to your situation to reinforce learning. Plants typically start in a small pot, and then they are transplanted to an area that suits their natural needs. They need the right amount of sunshine, water, and soil to grow.

Fun Plant Lessons for kids:

If you have garden books or picture books, be sure to prep for this experience by assessing what is visible in your literature to make this learning as rich as possible. Communicate with local friends that have gardens to see what they use in your area; if they have tiny humans, even better!

You can also join gardening groups online or talk to a hardware store associate to learn more about the placement and skills needed to maintain them. Plants useful for at-home gardening are shrubs, herbs, succulents, ground cover, and edibles. They can be split into two groups you may hear a lot; annuals and perennials.

Check out this post for easy facts you can teach your kids when gardening together.

Nutritious Food is Healthy for Kids

Families will learn about food and identify which grow in the ground. It greatly benefits children because nutrient-dense foods help them learn, grow, focus, and communicate. Healthy diets and good habits are a great part of gardening. Kids will feel comfortable eating foods out of the garden and learn to distinguish between toxic traits and edible plants.

Use Your Senses in the Garden

Children and adults will use their senses when they are outside. It is full of beautiful smells, new things to see, and fun ways to be tactile. People get bored when they are inside, and we forget that outside is pretty close by. Know what you like and get involved in that. If you know you enjoy using machines, try tilling an area of your yard. Use gloves to scoop out a small raised be if you are hands-on.

Learn more about sensory play to tailor your experiences to your children’s interests to keep them engaged. Everyone is different. What works for one family member may not work for another family member.

Understand what your children will enjoy before you start, so you aren’t too surprised if they accidentally spray you with a hose or fling mud at your shoes.

You might notice that what one child does is organized and helpful, while another is messy and destructive; this is normal. People develop at their own rate, and senses will help children identify their interests. They are more likely to be productive with an activity if it meets their personal sensory needs.

Use Gardening Tools to Engage Your Child

Be sure to prepare a list of essential tools and materials to buy at a local store. Talk to the employees– ask questions and learn more about the areas you live. You might find it helpful to ask other neighbors what they use to see if you have a good spot for a plant or a tool recommendation.

If you want to buy pretend plastic toys for your kiddos, go for it. I don’t always prefer getting toys unless kids are clearly uninterested in an adult task or I worry a tool is too dangerous.

Encourage the use of real tools when you can because they are sturdier. It helps kids identify which are real and which are toys because they can tell the difference between metal and plastic.

A 9-year-old will get frustrated if they dig dense dirt areas with a plastic shovel; a toddler in a sandbox might not understand the difference. Try to use what you have and see if it is appropriate for kid-sized hands before purchasing more.

gloves, buckets, watering cans, hoses, shovels, trowels, rope, rakes, sheers, plants, mulch

Learn About Plant Cycles Together

Make plant death a learning experience. Plants will die. It is normal for them to die, and depending on your knowledge, it might be an accident you caused. It could also be due to the flower’s natural life cycle. It is alright. Learning about plants takes time, commitment, and practice.

Use this learning experience to strengthen what you know to try new things in the future. It could be the sunlight, the season, or the amount of water that kills a plant. It just depends on the plant and your area. Remember that you are modeling behaviors and teaching your children to overcome obstacles by trying new things and sometimes failing.

Stay Active!

If after all this, you know you live in a concrete jungle –or even if you don’t– go to local pea patches and botanical gardens. Utilize these public places and spend time learning about the environment there. Ask questions about what they use to help grow their plants and learn about the different placement techniques for optimal lighting.

Anywhere you go that encourages home gardening skills should be a go-to family outing. Try farmer’s markets, community shops, and herb stores to connect and make friends. You will learn which are edible, what to plant in your area and more tools for your garden success.

Don’t forget to bring your kiddos along for the car ride! Use these outings as a way to facilitate everyone’s learning. Guide your family in a direction that prepares them for victorious family bonding time by singing, eating local foods, reading books and labels, and of course, planting.


Mission Momplex

👋🏽Hey there! My name is Miranda. I started Mission Momplex to begin documenting a journey that I thought would add significant value to the world. My mission contributes to life with love, passion, kindness, and a bit of sass! Please share, follow, collect, like, pin, or subscribe whenever you see Mission Momplex. Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter to receive a free printable calendar! Just go to the top menu to find the newsletter page.

Recent Posts