top of page

Parent’s guide to gardening with under 5s


Toddler gardening

Gardening offers a large range of fun opportunities for learning and development as well as teaching your child lifelong lessons.


These can include learning about environmental issues, healthy eating, different types of plants, animals and bugs, what helps plants grow, how the seasons work and so much more!


So, with the weather slowly getting warmer, there’s no better way to spend time outdoors with your little one – plus you get to grow your own, a great way to be more sustainable.


If you don’t have a garden or balcony, why not look at allotments (click here for more information), sign up for a local family gardening club or even plant something small on your windowsill!

In this parent’s guide to gardening with under 5s, we will cover the developmental benefits of gardening, how to get started and additional resources.

Let’s jump straight in!

Toddler gardening



Firstly, let’s explore the wide range of benefits gardening can offer for your little one.


Helping physical development


Gardening can help your little one develop a range of physical skills such as fine motor hand-eye coordination and physical strength through watering, digging, carrying, planting seeds etc.


Sensory play


Sensory activities like feeling petals and seeds, smelling herbs, playing with mud etc. are engaging wayz to develop Early Years skills! It offers opportunities for counting, crafting, learning about the world and more.


Click here for our full guide to sensory play for more information.

Responsibility and patience


Growing plants is all about care and patience, it’s a great way to introduce your little one to concepts around taking responsibility.

World around them


Growing your own plants can help your child better understand the world around them including how eco-systems work, how plants grow and so much more, giving them a better appreciation for nature.

Learning about healthy eating and environmental issues


It also provides a good opportunity to discuss the importance of eating healthy and being eco-conscious - as well as offering your child a better insight into where the food they eat comes from.

Growing your own also gives your little one a sense of accomplishment making them more likely to eat what they grew and feel more confident overall!

Social skills


Make gardening a social occasion. You can either involve a sibling in the process or start a mini-gardening club of your own. Children working together will help them develop social skills like communication and compromise.


If you’re not in a position to do this with others, it’s still a great opportunity to help your little one develop their language and communication skills – just be sure to keep chatting to them about the process and introduce gardening-specific vocabulary.

Toddler gardening with parent

Getting started

The key to successful gardening with your little one is planning! The more you’re prepared for, the better the activity can be – both in terms of having fun and learning.

Here are our top tips to getting started:


Do your research

We’ve listed some resources below – be sure to check them out and start your own research. The more information you have the better you will be prepared to get started!


Here are some questions to help you kickstart your research and make an action plan:

  • What seeds should you plant for what season and what are the best plants for your little one -

This time of year is ideal to get started – you can plant most fruit, veg and flowers but be sure to check each type as some will need some initial indoor time!


For little ones, easily managed fruit and veg are ideal – start with cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries and a variety of herbs.


*Top tip: make a list of what you need before going shopping!


  • What do you have space for -

Do you have a big garden with plenty of space to plant a variety of plants? A small balcony with limited space? Or perhaps you have neither and just want to plant something on your windowsill? Or you’re considering an allotment?


Any space is workable but consider what kind of plant you have space for and how much time you have realistically to take care of it.


  • What can you manage with your time -

Everyone’s daily routine is different – some of us have time daily to take care of a range of plants, some of us have just the weekends, and some have very limited time.


When planning to get gardening make sure you take into account what works for you – there will be types of plants that take very little effort to grow and others that need constant attention.


  • How to engage your little one in conversation and activity -

Giving your child responsibilities will help them develop confidence – try to make them actively part of the process, introducing them to different vocabulary and activities rather than just having them stand by and watch.


  • What tools and supplies will you need (child friendly tools etc.) -

Make sure you have the right tools for your little one to get involved e.g. their own gloves, shovel and watering can – keeping unsafe objects out of reach.


  • What will you need to keep in mind to keep your child safe -

Gardening can come with a few dangers and risks – involve your little one in age-appropriate risks but be sure these are taken with care and under close supervision.


Whilst keeping dangerous objects like large sheers out of sight and reach.

Be prepared


There are a few things to consider (and prepare for) before getting started:

  • Weather issues - rain, wind or even snow!

  • Young children get distracted – let them go on a learning journey of their own but try to be prepared with other activities they can go between (we recommend setting up little sections of play areas – some ideas are listed in resources below).

  • Don’t wear your best clothes – gardening will get messy!


Have fun!

Don’t forget this should be an activity you both enjoy.

Select plants that will bring both you and your little one joy and take the time to bond over the shared activity.


Toddlers gardening with parent

Additional Resources


RHS - getting children interested in gardening and guide to get started – click here.

BBC - guide to gardening with children – click here. - beginners guide to gardening with kids – click here.

Better Health - guide to gardening for children – click here. – gardening safety – click here.


BBC - top 7 tips for gardening with children – click here.

Gardeners World - tips for gardening with children – click here.


Gardeners World - 10 gardening projects for kids – click here. - gardening activities – click here.



bottom of page