From Parenting 24/7: University of Illinois Extension


Gardening with your children

Posted Apr 26, 2009, updated Aug 11, 2011.

Gardening with your children

Finding fun and creative ways to keep your kids active and healthy can be challenging with the fast-paced lives most families lead. One simple solution is to introduce your children to gardening. No matter where you live - city, country, small town, urban or rural - you can find a way to garden.

Gardening is a great way to get your children outside. Be prepared for a little mess as young children will be especially curious and want to dig in the dirt, look for worms and other bugs, and squish stuff between their fingers and toes.

Think about the types of plants you like and that grow well where you live - introduce your children to the things you love and they will learn to love them as well.

Get Ready

  • Figure out what you might grow and where you could grow it.
  • Young children are small and may be overwhelmed by a large garden plot.
  • Start small with container gardening or raised beds.
  • Share the planning, purchasing, and planting together. The more involved, the more likely children will enjoy the experience.

Get Set

  • Consider your child’s age, size, and interest level. Perhaps you will want to purchase some small child-sized garden tools that will make gardening more enjoyable.
  • Prepare your garden area. Consider your location. If you live in an apartment perhaps you could have permission to plant a small container garden or a rooftop garden.
  • If having a garden or flower bed is not possible where you live consider starting a community garden. Ask your local community for permission to use an empty lot. Invite your neighbors to join you and make the time a social event.


Once you have your tools and have decided upon the plants you wish to grow--start planting.

  • Remember that there will be maintenance involved in whatever type of garden you decide upon: weeding, watering, fertilizing and more.
  • Make sure that you break each step down small enough for your child to enjoy and be safe.

Most of all encourage your child to have fun while being active.

See another Parenting 24/7 article:

Developing a Child's Interest in Gardening

For more information:

How to get started gardening with kids:

For general gardening tips:


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