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8 Ideas for Creating a Children’s Garden

by Tiffany in Gardening

8 Ideas for Creating a Children’s GardenGardening 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.

A Sunflower Home

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.

I love Dirt!

  • chelle

    We are so planning on making a Fairy garden this year. My daughter is determined to attract some fairies and spot one!

  • AWESOME post! Thank you! Fairy houses are a lifelong tradition for me, fairy gardens is a nice build on that, and I love the teepee idea too. We just got our first seeds into their eggshells yesterday, so this booklist will provide some food for thought while we anxiously wait!

  • tracy

    Thank you for the great ideas. I just came across the idea of a Fairy Garden and now read about it again on your blog. I think my kids will really enjoy doing it. I think it’s so important to instill an interest in earth, nature and gardens while they are young…even living in the burbs. We are starting our very first garden this year and I am *hoping* that they will catch the bug too when they harvest their first flower from seed or first tomato from plant. :)

  • Melynda

    We are planning a sunflower house this summer for my son and I to read books in. I’ll also plant lots of cherry tomatoes for him to eat right off the vine–that was a favorite last summer.

  • Katyflyer

    I love these ideas. I am always looking for new ways to transform our yard into a place of joy and wonder. Arthur and the Invisibles became one of our most watched movies this winter. I can’t wait to build a fairy garden with my sons to connect us to the land of the Minimoys!
    Thanks for the awesome ideas. Your blog is one of my favorites.

  • Sharon Dixon

    I think the sunflower house is the coolest idea ever. That and a worm box. We are starting our first compost pile this year and the worms would be a great way for the kids to help out.

  • Jen

    Thank you for inspiring me to check out some books on gardening with the kids from the library! We just planted radishes and a snap pea tipi together, but I want to do more.

  • Marla

    I love the sunflower house idea. We saved seeds from the jack-o-lantern we carved last year so will hopefully have our own little pumpkin patch.

  • melissa

    I’d love to try the pizza patch idea, I’ve seen something similar for salsa gardens too.

  • What great ideas! We don’t have a yard, but my mom is finally open to having a garden in hers, so we will probably be trekking over to her home a few times a week to make that happen. My kids would LOVE the sunflower house or teepee, so I’m going to think about which would be more feasible for the space my mom has. And we will definitely incorporate a fairy garden because my daughter is obsessed with them right now.

  • I am so glad you posted this! I was just telling my husband that I wanted to make our garged “magical” for our son. We were tossing around ideas about how to make “forts” for him to play in and secret pathways etc. I would have never thought of the sunflower house idea. He is only 20 months old but already has a love for gardening. Last summer he would eat upwards of 20 cherry tomatos right off the plant! This year I am going to plant veggies and fruits that I know he will enjoy and that he can pick, also we are going to create a space just for him to play and imagine. Thanks for the ideas.

  • I love to garden and I got the kids involved last year with planting seeds and seedlings. This was really fun for me. This year my 5 year old has already asked if she can have her own garden. Of course! I love the above idea for making a sunflower house and could see her really enjoying that! Awesome books and ideas!


  • kristen

    great ideas, i think we’ll try the pizza patch!

  • Joan

    I sooo love this idea!!! I hate that I live in a condo and am really limited to the amount of space I have to garden.

  • Deanna

    Great ideas! I love the sunflower house and the pizza patch. We’d also love to have the book:)

  • Kathy

    One of my goals is to start garndening with my twins. I have never done it before!

  • We don’t have a large amount of space for gardening but we can do a little with our yard. The sunflower house is actually perfect for one of the areas of our backyard with a little more space and I’d love the book to learn more and get started on it!

  • Jackie

    Thanks for this post! This was great – I was just looking into ideas for gardening w/ my kids this year. I love the idea of the sunflower house and want to try that with my son.

  • Debbie

    This is a fabulous post. My daughter will be 18 months this summer and I think we’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. I think I’m going to find a sunny patch to grow some sunflowers – talk about a huge impact, seeing something grow so large from just a wee little seed. Wish me luck! Hopefully I have a bit of a green thumb.

  • Pamela

    I have never gardened before and we are actually setting up a garden this year! Woo Hoo!

  • The sunflower house sounds great to me. They are easy to grow and the house would last into the fall. I’m jealous that others are already planting peas (how about a pea teepee?)- my Maine garden still has a foot of snow in it!!

  • Casey

    I love the idea of a pizza garden and we just may try the sunflower house this year. The kids are dying to plant something. I can’t wait for spring.

  • Dion

    My three boys and I are doing a worm box and going to give the sunflower house a try.

  • Melinda S.

    What a neat book….and the pictures look fun!!

  • Krista

    This book looks great.

  • Madeleine

    Great ideas! We’ll be trying the teepee and also the rainbow, apart from us having a regular garden with tomatoes and herbs.

  • Thanks for another great post, Tiffany. We are thinking of doing some pot gardening this year. I got “I Love Dirt!” for Christmas and am really enjoying the tips and ideas out of it. Too bad all the winter suggestions pertained to snowy lands, we didn’t get an inch of snow this year! :(

  • Lindsay

    So excited to get out there and garden again

  • Missy

    the rainbow and pizza idea are just adorable! I can’t wait to get started :) Thanks for the ideas. Just bought a trunk load of veggie and herb plants today.

  • Molomatic

    Tons of great ideas here! My daughter is already looking for fairies in the garden. We are involving her in our veggie garden. She helped pick what to plant and has been having fun planting the seeds. I can’t wait to see her running out to pick veggies and eat them on the spot. The Sunflower Houses looks like another great giveaway, thanks!

  • erin

    I have already been eyeing this book. Did I read about it on your blog from last summer? I’m not sure, but I already have figured out what part of the yard I’d like to do it, and have been trying to decide how to convince my hubster that it will actually work!

  • erin

    by the way… the pizza garden… hmmm.. sweet idea.

  • I have a small copse of bamboo in my backyard, and I am planning to clear out a spot in the middle, with a path so the kids can play in there during the summer heat! I also have a special place in the garden for my kids to plant whatever they want. Last year we had potatoes, sunflowers, daffodills, and petunias all mixed up in there – it was great!

  • This is our first summer in our new house, so we will be doing a lot in our new backyard. We have NO plants or flowers to speak of. We will be starting another vegetable garden and I know my daughter would LOVE the Sunflower House – what an awesome idea. She’s also really into Tinkerbell, so I can see a Fairy Garden in the future too. So much to do!

  • Alicia

    This is so timely! We are planning our garden right now. I am going to submit to my children several different offers that you mentioned and see which one they like. I’m leaning towards the sunflower tepee and the rainbow, sounds so lovely!! Thanks for posting this. It made me smile.

  • Amita

    I was just surfing the other day for kids garden ideas so was really happy when I saw your post. My daughter has just started watering the garden in our new house with her baby watering can. Unfortunately it’s Autumn here “down under” in Australia. I can’t wait till Spring to plant a rainbow garden and a pizza garden – just the thing to go with my homemade pizzas from the breadmaker!

  • Ashley

    I love your garden ideas. We have 4 little ones and would love to get them started on their own fun garden. We had thought about doing a pizza garden for the kids because we LOVE pizza. I would love to try out the Sunflower garden and the Moon garden (we just love looking at the stars). Thank you again for the ideas.

  • Brittany

    My son is 5 and I have really wanted to start a garden and plant some flowers with him. I have never done ANYTHING like that though. I don’t even know where to start! I am going to check out some of these books in hopes they have good instructions! Thank you! I always enjoy your writing!

  • The winner is Marla with comment #8. Congrats!!!