There’s this common misconception that gardening is an activity best suited for the elderly.
However, that is not even remotely true. You see, studies have shown that there are many benefits of introducing gardening to kids at age toddlers to preschoolers. Through garden play, children acquire and improve crucial skills, have fun, and develop self-confidence all the while enjoying a nature-friendly childhood in the Montessori way.
But, how exactly does gardening help a child’s development?
A garden can be an interactive playground for kids that will engage all of their senses. It’s where they can touch and feel the fruits of their labor, fancy the brightly colored flowers, grow accustomed to natural scents, and the sound of rustling shrubs. Of course, you can do indoor gardening with children, too.
To involve all the senses will feed both curiosity and passion in toddlers and thus, the love for gardening and the science behind it, says Gena Lorraine, a fantastic gardening & horticulturist expert. It is at an early age when parents should nourish these activities the most, she added.
But what are the skills children learn from nature and how does gardening help a child’s development?
Reliability and responsibility when it comes to taking care of a plant day after day;
Self-confidence: nothing is more rewarding than the fruits of our own labour;
Learning cause and effect – do good, not bad;
Curiosity in species, growing tips, Botanics and more;
Physical activity: gardening makes you move a lot;
Exploring texture: Gaining insight on density, weight, malleability, permeability, and more;
Growing the love of nature: putting love in what they grow;
Teamwork: friends or family;
Math: counting days, measuring nutrition, light exposure and more;
Not familiar with Montessori education? Learn more here.
When gardening with your kids, try growing plants that possess sensory and textural qualities. Here are a few good examples of sensory plants suitable for kindergarten gardening.
Touch – Houseleek, Jerusalem sage, Lamb’s ears and Snapdragons can teach your children the different textures plants have;
Taste – Strawberries, Chives, Rosemary and Cherry tomatoes are just a few of many healthy and tasty treats, simple to grow for children to enjoy (especially when eaten, of course);
Smell – Lavender, Chocolate cosmos, Jasmine and Lemon balm give off heady fragrances;
Sound – Greater quaking-grass, Sweet corn and Bamboo rustle when the wind blows;
Sight – Spider flowers, Sulfur Cosmos, Chameleon plant and Sunflowers are great as they’re colourful and visually appealing.
Gardening encourages children to eat healthier.
It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables taste better when you grow them yourself. This holds true for children too.
Getting toddlers or preschoolers involved in gardening allows them to experience plant care and nourish a responsible, consistent and positive attitude towards hard work.
For self-grown fruits and veggies children will take great pride, you can rest assured.
Before you can think of it, they will be eating tomatoes, spinach, and even celery! By explaining the importance of gardening from an early age, healthy eating will become a day-to-day habit shaping the foundations of any young mind.
It goes without saying that gardening and fine motor skills go hand in hand. While in the garden, children are constantly practicing their locomotor skills without thinking about it. In the garden, children have to move around a lot to tackle tasks like watering, fertilizing, pruning, mounting plant stakes, digging, weeding, bending, and gathering, organizing, and storing seeds.
This is how gardening allows children to develop a proactive and healthy routine in life.
Gardening introduces children to science
Using gardening as a way to teach children science is a fairly new and unique approach but considerably rewarding. Not only do young ones become a part of the learning process, but they acquire practical knowledge not found in textbooks.
Here are some examples of sciences that can be taught in the garden :
Botany – through the interaction with plants and dissection of seeds;
Chemistry – through composting;
Math – through the planting and management of seeds;
Meteorology – monitoring the weather and its effects on the garden.
Gardening reduces both the level and effect of stress
Gardening can be a huge stress reliever for children as it teaches how to relax, calm down and control emotions. Spending time in nature, amongst flowers and trees has been proven to make both children and the elderly feel happier.
According to many studies, working out in the garden for just 30 minutes a day reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol significantly. Therefore, gardening is a perfect activity to introduce your children to, as it keeps the stress away.
Gardening teaches young ones patience, improves focus, and enhances memory, too
Nowadays, children have an ever-shorter attention span mainly because of the immediate gratification that our digital age provides.
A great way to teach children patience and also improve their focus is through regular garden care.
To achieve that you need to be patient and let children make mistakes to learn from;
Give children their own space and actively encourage them to take responsibility for the plants they sow, this, in turn, will instil in them gratification when their plants progress;
It’s recommendable to start with sowing fast growers as that way kids can witness the fruits of their labour over the course of just a few weeks and won’t lose interest;
The constant involvement of children in the gardening process improves alertness, memory and even cognitive abilities, thanks to math and repetition.
Gardening teaches children the responsibility of preserving the environment
Helping kids get into the habit of caring for seeds and plants they’ve sown can instill a great sense of responsibility. Be sure to prepare and follow a checklist of daily, weekly and monthly chores. Аlso, monitor your child’s gardening progress and do your best to help them when needed, without interfering too much. This is how gardening develops children, by teaching them that good things take time and effort.
As children spend more time in the garden, they become naturally driven to green thinking and environmental preservation, says Tony, the passionate nature-lover from Escape Waste. Young ones learn that in order for a garden to produce healthy plants, it needs to be clean and tidy, and devoid of trash, which is one chore among many, she adds.
Gardening nourishes self-confidence
Confidence is crucial for the healthy development of any child. It might come as no surprise but gardening helps children feel more capable. Looking after a plant, from sowing until bloom, and seeing their hard work pay off can substantially boost a child’s sense of competence.
When it comes to childcare, the benefits of delayed gratitude take long to teach but at the end of the day, are absolutely worth it.
Gardening with toddlers bonds the family
It should be present in every household. To set up you don’t need to have a huge backyard, not really. A few pots on the balcony are absolutely sufficient. The time families spend in the garden helps strengthen their bonds to create multiple and meaningful memories. As children learn they set solid grounds fоr great adulthood or something. What they like and what they don’t. What is wrong and what is right.
Altogether, gardening in childcare is an interesting, educational, healthy, and social activity that every child deserves. Although growing a garden as a regular activity can take a while, the payoff is more than worth it!
Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers--from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry.
What do you call a garden filled with lots of flowers? A polli-nation! Nat Geo Kids is back with the newest fact- and photo-filled Ultimate Explorer Field Guide, and this one packs some real flower power! This guide to wildflowers will make kids stop and look for all kinds of blossoms blooming right under their noses. From buttercups to bladderworts, primroses to pitcher plants, kids will learn how, where, and when to spot these wildflowers in their backyard, down the street, or all over town! Jam-packed with tons of info, interactive prompts, tips for budding botanists, super stats, and jokes--it's the perfect companion for exploring the backyard or field trips, camping, or vacation.
by Jerry Pallotta (Author), Leslie Evans (Illustrator)
And they're only two of the flowers in this book of bright colors and delightful information. Young readers will be fascinated to find out what flower can be used to make a doll, which flower flavors tea, and which flower farmers feed to chickens.
Put in healthy soil, add some water and let it grow in the sun. This is how a plant would thrive. But there are many other things to know aside from this general truth! The purpose of this educational book is to empower your child to become environmentally aware. By improving his/her knowledge about planting, you are also preparing him/her to plant.
From planting seeds to watering them to watching seedlings grow, young readers are introduced to gardens and some of the charming creatures often found there. Using simple, age-appropriate text paired with colorful photos, Look & Learn books introduce children to a subject on one spread and then show it in real-life context on the next.
Teach your child how a tiny seed grows into a flower in this fascinating lift-the-flap garden story. A pullout height chart ends the book--a great way for children to remember how a sunflower grows, and to measure how fast your child grows, too! Through illustrations, photography, and flaps, sixteen delightful board book pages reveal the wonder of how plants grow as you follow the story of a mystery seed. How was it planted? What does it need? What will it become? As days go by, it's hard to imagine the tiny shoot will ever grow into a big, strong plant.
by Emma Biggs (Author), Steven Biggs (Author)
Thirteen-year-old Emma Biggs is passionate about gardening and eager to share her passion with other kids! Gardening with Emma is a kid-to-kid guide to growing healthy food and raising the coolest, most awesome plants while making sure there’s plenty of fun. With plants that tickle and make noise, tips for how to grow a flower stand garden, and suggestions for veggies from tiny to colossal, Emma offers a range of original, practical, and entertaining advice and inspiration.
by Yuval Zommer (Author), Elisa Biondi Scott Taylor Barbara Taylor
The next installment in the popular Big Book series is a fascinating introduction to some of the most magnificent and surprising flowering plants from around the world.
In The Big Book of Blooms, the next installment in the wildly successful Big Book series, Yuval Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the most colorful, flamboyant, and unusual flowers from across the globe.
by Lois Ehlert (Author, Illustrator)
In this perennial classic with sturdy board book pages by Caldecott Honor–winning author Lois Ehlert, little ones learn the colors of the rainbow as they watch a plants grow in a beautifully vibrant garden. Through brilliant, textured cut paper collages, the story follows the progress of a mother and daughter in their backyard as they plant bulbs, seeds, and seedlings and nurture their growth into flowers. Bold, spare text and dazzling illustrations will inspire readers to take a closer look at the natural world and maybe even start a garden of their own.
Explore a lush garden of plant life. . . . from your bookshelf! Packed with science concepts, this picture book will tell you everything you need to know about flowers. With her signature combination of clearly-labeled diagrams, infographics, and accessible language, Gail Gibbons introduces the basics and life cycle of flowers. Sweet-smelling violets, delicate roses, vibrant tulips-- and many more-- come alive on the profusely illustrated pages.
Discover the beautiful science of flowers! Through full-color photos and simple, easy-to-follow text, this nonfiction book introduces emergent readers to the basics of botany, including information on how flowers grow, along with their uses. All Pebble Plus books align with national and state standards and are designed to help new readers read independently, making them the perfect choice for every child.
by Joseph P. Anthony (Author), Cris Arbo (Author)
Follow the journey of a tiny dandelion seed who was afraid to let go. With a poignant, simple storytelling and gorgeous artwork, this best-selling picture book introduces plant life cycles while reminding us to let go and embrace change.
From the familiar buttercup to the dazzling Indian paintbrush, this colorful guide features 34 flowers that grow naturally in woodlands, grasslands, deserts, and wetlands of the U.S. and Canada. The book also looks at pollination and the parts of a flower.
This picture book teaches young readers what plants need to grow. Featuring vivid images and simple, repetitive phrases, students will be eager to learn about what plants need to grow. This title correlates to Next Generation Science Standards with a focus on plants.
by Anna McQuinn (Author), Rosalind Beardshaw (Illustrator)
How does your garden grow? Book-loving Lola is inspired by a collection of garden poems that she reads with her mommy. She wants to plant her own garden of beautiful flowers, so she and Mommy go to the library to check out books about gardening. They choose their flowers and buy their seeds. They dig and plant. And then they wait. Lola finds it hard to wait for her flowers to grow, but she spends the time creating her own flower book. Soon she has a garden full of sunflowers and invites all of her friends for cakes and punch and a story amongst the flowers.
by Mrs. Peanuckle (Author), Jessie Ford (Illustrator)
From the aster to the zinnia, Mrs. Peanuckle introduces very young children to 26 types of flowers from across the globe. For each one, she offers a single defining characteristic, some of them very surprising. Did you know that there are twice as many orchid species as bird species? It's true! Do flowers taste good? Birds, bees, and butterflies sure think so! You'll even find flowers in certain teas. With bold, colorful pages, strong graphic art, and exciting design, these flowers are certain to be remembered by the children and adults who share this book.
A first nature book about flowers for children, this is the perfect companion for young minds eager to learn about the world of flowering plants. Children are encouraged to investigate and record all the wildflowers they find and get hands on with the fun activities, from pressing petals to preserve them to making a mini desert filled with cacti.
Kids see plants, flowers, and trees around them every day. In this lively and educational reader, they'll learn how those plants grow. Kids will take this magical journey from seed pollination to plant growth, learning about what plants need to thrive and grow with the same careful text, brilliant photographs, and the fun approach National Geographic Readers are known for.
by DK (Author), Smithsonian Institution (Contributor)
A unique guide to the extraordinary world of plants, from the smallest seeds to the tallest trees. Packed with more than 1,000 incredible images and full of fascinating facts, this beautiful children's book takes you on an exciting adventure through the wonders of the plant kingdom. Explore the incredible world of plants, from the smallest seeds to the tallest trees. Find out about the weirdest, smelliest, and deadliest flowers. Which plants eat insects? How do cacti store water? What flower looks like a bee? Where is the tallest tree in the world? Trees, Leaves, Flowers & Seeds explores the mysterious world of plants to find the answers to these and many more questions.
With simple language and bright illustrations, non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the processes of pollination, seed formation, and germination. Important vocabulary is reinforced with accessible explanation and colorful, clear diagrams showing the parts of plants, the wide variety of seeds, and how they grow.
Eric Carle’s classic story of the life cycle of a flower is told through the adventures of a tiny seed. This mini-book includes a piece of detachable seed-embedded paper housed on the inside front cover. Readers can plant the entire piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny seeds grow into beautiful wildflowers.
Major Biomes of the World is a set of 3-part cards, information posters, and worksheets for students to learn about the major biomes of the world. It includes a map, 3-part card activities, descriptions, follow-up coloring, handwriting, and sorting activities.
Three-part cards and sorting activity with three major groups of rocks – Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic. Rocks are often a great point of interest for lower elementary students. It is easily translated into a hands-on experience for children who enjoy looking up various types of rocks and learning their origin and proper name pronunciation.
Seasons in Nature Printable contains: 4 work mats for sorting 24 picture cards for sorting (6 for each of the seasons) Sun and Earth rotation poster to place in the middle British and American versions
The printable features photos of birds and eggs. Each card set comes with a photo of a bird + a label, a label card, and a photo card of eggs including a picture of the bird that laid them. This makes it easier for children to connect the right picture of eggs to the right bird without assistance.
From a fragile and beautiful bird egg to a glittering meteorite from space, discover more than 100 intriguing natural objects with fascinating tales to tell in this beautifully illustrated wildlife book for children. This unique nature reference book has a fun, new approach that teaches children about nature through objects. It includes: • More than 100 amazing objects that you can find in nature made by geological processes, or by plants and animals. • Four chapters: Animals; Plants, Fungi and Algae; Minerals and Rocks; and Made by Nature. • Illustrated diagrams that support understanding. • Large, detailed photographs of truly fascinating objects. • Eye-catching jacket finishes: gold foil, holographic foil and metallic gold edges.
NATURE JOURNAL: Exploring nature with children through fun journaling. These activity books were created by parents who found a way to guide kids to discover and observe the outdoors with simple drawing and sketching. When given a purpose and excitement for finding plants, animals, and landmarks, your kids will enjoy learning to draw on this illustrative workbook in their own backyard.
by Editors of Storey Publishing (Author)
Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard. Seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature, and a real pull-out magnifying glass helps them get a close-up glimpse of leaf veins, seed pods, and tiny insects. Filled with activities, checklists, and stickers, this interactive nature guide belongs in every kid’s backpack.
See the world in a whole new way! Acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman combines art and science in this exciting and educational guide to the structure, function, and personality of the natural world. Explore the anatomy of a jellyfish, the inside of a volcano, monarch butterfly migration, how sunsets work, and much more. Rothman’s whimsical illustrations are paired with interactive activities that encourage curiosity and inspire you to look more closely at the world all around you.
From the smallest speck of sand to the stars that blanket the sky, nature is full of incredible things to explore. Inspire little ones to learn about the world they live in with this colorful and imaginative choice in nature books for kids. It’s packed with fascinating info and full-page photos that teach children about the weather, seasons, plants, animals, and more.
Kids are full of big questions like “What makes plants grow?” or “Why does the moon change shape in the sky?”. Awesome Outdoor Experiments for Kids can help them find the answers! It’s a treasure trove of outdoor adventures, with more than 50 fun experiments that show kids science in action as they play outside.
When words in verse are paired with the awesomeness of nature, something magical happens! Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exuberant poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems. From trickling streams to deafening thrunderstorms to soaring mountains, discover majestic photography perfectly paired with contemporary (such as Billy Collins), classics (such as Robert Frost), and never-before-published works.
Girls can do anything, and Adventure Girls! proves it! Packed with exciting activities and crafts for girls (ages 6 to 12), this book inspires young adventurers to be curious, innovative, and bold. From stargazing and animal tracking to making a pinhole camera and building a shadow theater, Adventure Girls! is not one of your typical craft books.
Crawl into the wonderful world of bugs—a fun photographic adventure for kids ages 3 to 5 Take your child on an educational adventure bursting with the kinds of colorful photographs you need in bug books for kids. The Backyard Bug Book for Kids has everything you’d want in bug books for kids: a story, pictures, and activities combined. Introduce your little one to the types of bugs they’re likely to see during their day, then help them remember what they’ve learned with fun, on-the-page challenges.
by Fiona Cohen (Author), Marni Fylling (Illustrator)
Filled with fun facts and 100 full-color, beautiful, and scientifically accurate illustrations, this nature guide will inspire kids to go outdoors and discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. Did you know that baby raccoons are smaller than a bar of soap? Or that salmon smell using little pits in the front of their eyes? Curious Kids Nature Guide is filled with full-color illustrations and fun facts about the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest, encouraging kids to discover and explore nature in their own backyards and beyond.
Immersed in the natural world, The Organic Artist for Kids inspires creativity by connecting kids and their adults to our wilderness roots. In addition to offering a wide variety of fun, collaborative projects using nature as a source for art supplies and inspiration, this book also introduces the concepts of awareness and perception that are fundamental to the creative process.
In the era of screens and devices, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors, and children are no exception. Not only does this phenomenon have consequences for kids’ physical and mental health, it jeopardizes their ability to understand and engage with anything beyond the built environment.
Wild creatures, cloud formations, plant habitats, and more―nature is full of wonders to behold and explore! In this nature journal, young naturalists will get all of the guidance they need to study and record their experiences of the natural world.
Clare Walker Leslie shows kids how to experience nature with all five senses, whether they live in the countryside, a major city, or somewhere in between. Guiding children through inspiring activities like sketching wildlife, observing constellations, collecting leaves, keeping a weather journal, and watching bird migrations, The Nature Connection encourages kids to engage with the world outside and promotes a lifelong love of nature.
From the author of the bestselling book 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope, this colorful edition explores the constellations with young readers, guiding them to dozens of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Every page features a helpful “telescope view”, showing exactly how objects appear through a small telescope or binoculars.
Get ready to explore the sky above, the ground below, and all the plants and creatures in between! Made just for kids, this nature anatomy book teaches you about the incredible forces and living things that exist in nature.
by Pamela Hickman (Author), Carolyn Gavin (Illustrator)
Balancing child-friendly facts with colorful illustrations, this perfect introduction to plants is sure to inspire the budding naturalist in every child. From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere! This comprehensive introduction will open children's eyes to the plants that surround them every day and how important they are to life on our planet. It covers the basics of plants, such as their parts, life cycles and growing zones.
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way. It features 33 different trees that grow in North America, from rural Georgia to the streets of New York City to the California suburbs.
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild. Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it’s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness.
by Mrs. Peanuckle (Author), Jessie Ford (Illustrator)
With playful text, bright illustrations, and sturdy pages, Mrs. Peanuckle's alphabet books will engage toddlers, and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world! Explore the wondrous world of hiking while learning the ABCs with Mrs. Peanuckle! Mrs. Peanuckle takes on the outdoors and shares all her favorite animals, plants, and more in her latest tour of the ABCs! From A to Z, Mrs. Peanuckle introduces toddlers to 26 different natural-world experiences. With bold, colorful pages, strong graphic art, and exciting design, these simple nature words are sure to be a hit with budding hikers and curious young scientists.