Gardening with children is so very rewarding and is a topic near and dear to my heart!

In this episode of the podcast, I want to encourage you to give gardening with your kiddos a try. Or to expand your gardening activities this season. I’ll share with you some of the many benefits of gardening, my favorite projects, strategies for involving children, and also some of my favorite resources for gardening with children. 

Even if you don’t have space for a garden plot or haven’t tried growing things before, tune in!

Because you can start small and keep it simple and doable!

You could try growing a few starter plants in small raised beds, or perhaps add a few vegetable plants to your existing landscape, or even plant in large pots on your deck, patio, or even balcony.

Plants like radishes, zucchini, and herbs are fairly easy to grow and give you a great return on your investment.

And you can plant veggies and herbs all summer long, not just in the spring. So it’s not too late to start!

Why Garden with Children?

Let’s start with the benefits of gardening with children.

Older adults often think of gardening as a hobby. But gardening and raising vegetables can be real work!

The rewards for our health, heart, and spirit are plentiful though. And as parents, we want to model for our child doing meaningful work in the world. 

Here are some of the big benefits of gardening with children. 


  • Improves Mood & Reduces Stress
  • Promotes Meaningful Work
  • Encourages Healthy Eating
  • Teaches Environmental Awareness
  • Provides Sensory Development
  • Allows for Family Bonding

Tune in to this episode by pressing play above to hear all about how I managed the volunteer crew for our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with three young children in tow.

This experience has had a lasting effect on our family because all three of my grown kiddos now love to cook and eat a huge variety of fresh, healthy food.

And they all have lasting memories and a deep reverence for plants and animals, too. One of my kiddos and his wife belong to a CSA where they live, another is into mushroom foraging, and the third works in an animal rescue mission.

My Favorite Garden Projects for Kids

Back here at home, we’ve had some favorite garden projects over the years that might inspire you!

One of our family traditions is to plant flowers together on Mother’s Day. It’s the perfect time of year here in northern Ohio to plant annuals. And so we’ve made it a tradition to go to the garden center, pick out the flowers, and come home to plant them together that Sunday in May.

One year, we planted a pizza garden with tomatoes, basil, oregano, and spinach. Another family favorite from the garden is pesto. The whole family loves pesto and it’s always a sign of summer when we make the first batch. We even like to eat pesto on toast for breakfast!

Besides growing food you can eat, you can also find other purposeful projects in the garden like growing calendula for making a salve or mint to dry for tea.

Just like we focus on making useful projects with our handwork and crafts, gardening can involve making something that can be used and enjoyed by the whole family.

Another idea is to learn what the helpful bugs and hurtful bugs are in the garden.

We can help foster kindness to all creepy, crawly insects and encourage our kiddos to hold worms, pill bugs, ladybugs, or other small creatures with respect and reverence.

If you have to kill a garden pest, can you feed it to a chicken or leave it on a leaf plate for the birds to eat?

And lastly, it is so important to demonstrate reverence and gratitude. We always model how to say thank you to all the creatures and plants in the garden, when we plant a seed, pull a weed, or harvest anything to nourish our bodies, inside and out.

Verses, Songs, & Stories for in the Garden

Here’s a sweet little rhyme to show reverence for all the small creatures in the garden, both plants and animals ~

Dear Father, hear and bless thy beasts and singing birds.
And guard with tenderness, small things that have no words.

The Garden Song is also a favorite and a perfect one to learn by heart and sing while you’re working outside with your kiddos.

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
Till the rain comes tumblin’ down

“Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones
Man is made of dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own
‘Cause the time is close at hand
Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature’s chain
Tune my body and my brain
To the music from the land

“Plant your rows straight and long
Temper them with prayer and song
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her love and care.
Old crow watchin’ hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree.
In my garden, I’m as free
As that feathered thief up there

“Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
Till the rain comes tumblin’ down.

(Songwriter David Mallet)

You’ll find my favorite version sung here by John Denver. Also, do check out the beautifully illustrated book version with sheet music from your local library or my Amazon affiliate site here: Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett, illustrated by Ora Eitan.

Another sweet, sweet song is The Growing Song sung here by Mary Thienes Schunemann.

“A farmer once planted some little brown seed
With a pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat-pat.
He watered it often and he pulled up the weeds,
With a tug and a tug and a tug-tug-tug.

“The seeds grew tall and green in the sun,
With a push-push here and a push-push there,
And a beautiful plant grew from each one.”

(Mary Thienes Schunemann)

Here is a lovely little poem, The Good Farmer, a family favorite:

The Good Farmer
The glossy worm
Below the ground
Doth twist and turn
And chop and churn
And till and toil
And mill and moil
Up all the soil
Without a sound.

Tips for Gardening with Children

Now for some tips and simple strategies for gardening with children.

  • Have child-size tools on hand.
  • Have hoses, buckets with scoops or cups, and watering cans on hand because children always love playing in water.
  • Have a space that they can just play in, make messes, do whatever they want! We had a “mud pit” in our yard for years.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of shade for a respite from the sun. It’s nice to have a sun umbrella or portable beach tent to make some shade. It’s the perfect place to set up a sandbox or bean tub, wading pool or water table for play in the shade.
  • Gather sunhats, sunscreen, and water bottles for each family member before heading outdoors.
  • Prepare snacks ahead of time to help avoid meltdowns.
  • Harvest and eat the food you grow. Let children help decide what to cook with the produce.
  • Create a rhythm where children help when you first go out to the garden and then are free to play while you tend the garden. You might give each child a little garden chore to do when they first get out outside but then let them choose after that.
  • As parents, we can be working in the garden while our kids are free to dip in and out of work and play.

More Resources & Inspiration

There you have it! Time to go grab those trowels and do some digging in the dirt with your kiddos!

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