Gardening is on my mind a lot right now. The weather is just getting so nice, our seedlings are really growing, and soon we will be spending many hours a day out in the sun tending our garden. As I shared in a post last week, one big part of making gardening fun for kids is making sure they have their own kid size gardening gear.
Another big part of it is making sure that your garden is kid friendly and fun. Did you know that you can create a growing space or garden JUST for them? Well, you can. Children’s gardens are getting more popular every year… on private residences and in public spaces. Just this week I read that San Diego opened a massive children’s garden.
If your kids are just itching to get outside each morning to see how their garden has grown and play in it, then you know you have done your job well. Here are some ideas for children’s gardens:
1. Sunflower Houses – This is my number one pick. You can use sunflowers to create a rectangular or square section for the house. Once the sunflowers grow to almost full height you can take string and tie the tops together to form a string “roof” then morning glories can be grown up the sunflowers until they reach the string and fill in the roof. The whole concept is outlined in one of the BEST books on gardening with kids called Sunflower Houses by Sharon Lovejoy.
2. A garden tee-pee. This is similar to the sunflower house in concept. You put wooden poles in the ground and angle them to form a tee-pee. Make sure it is big enough for kids to pay inside. Then plant vines like morning glories, beans, and gourds so that the walls will fill in with vegetation. Guide the vines at first to make sure that an entrance is left open for little bodies to crawl through.
3. Try a Moon Garden – Instead of making a tee-pee with plants that flower during the day, you can also grow a moon garden and use plants that flower at night. Then the kids can spend some evenings outdoors looking at the stars and fireflies. Moonflowers would be perfect to climb the tee-pee walls and for around the perimeter you could plant evening primrose and four-o-clocks.
4. Grow some unique and whimsical plants. What kids wouldn’t like to grow some bleeding hearts, sunflowers, or gourds that can be hollowed out to make bird houses and musical instruments? Let them pick out the plants that appeal to them.
5. Make a rainbow – Have the kids help you pick out flowers or herbs in the 6 different rainbow colors… red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Plant them in curving rows with gravel or rocks between each row. When they bloom you will have a rainbow!
6. Create a fairy garden. Use twigs and sticks that have fallen from nearby trees to make fairy houses and furniture. Use tempera paints to give them color and texture. You can even use one half of fallen nuts to make little boats for them too.
7. Make a Pizza Patch! Carve out a circular section for this one and divide it into sections or slices. In each section grow a different pizza ingredient like tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregano, basil, rosemary, etc. When harvest time comes go out together and gather your ingredients and make pizza from scratch together. This can be cooked or raw pizza. :)
8. Build a worm box. Worms are an important part of any garden. They help us recycle waste into compost and by building a worm box or house you can get lots of wonderful compost and feed the worms your kitchen scraps. You can build your own worm box or buy one and it is a great scientific experiment for kids to be a part of. Check out the book Worms Eat My Garbage for more details.
Other inspirational books include:
Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots – Another of my all time faves!! It has instructions for sunflower houses, moon gardens, and various theme gardens.
Children’s Gardens – Has really elaborate details and plans for making bird gardens, a circus garden, a water garden, a picnic garden, and much more.