Creating and tending a garden at playgroup fosters a sense of belonging, togetherness and pride. Along with the fun of getting dirty, gardening helps children learn valuable lessons about patience as they wait for vegetables to grow, responsibility as they see how necessary their care is to the garden, the value of exercise through working physically in the garden, co operation and sharing as children work together and share, and how to use all their senses as they touch, smell, see, taste and hear all the wonderful things nature offers.

 Activities for Children in the Garden

  • Watering the garden
  • Digging
  • Picking flowers
  • Planting vegetables, fruits and flowers in the correct season
  • Feeding the worms and using the ‘worm tea’ from the worm farm as fertiliser
  • Picking vegetables and herbs when they are ready to eat
  • Preparing healthy food, such as salads
  • Craft activities using harvested seeds, plants and flowers
  • Composting and mulching
  • Weeding
  • Gathering seeds and flowers.

Grow a Gumboot Garden

Do you have old gumboots lying around?

Why not transform them into little pots by growing flowers and herbs in them.

A gumboot garden is a wonderful lesson in planting and potting, and a chance to teach children how creative recycling can produce something quite beautiful and unique.

Clear View Garden

Let children see how plants sprout and then form root systems.

  • Wet paper towels and put them in clear plastic cups.
  • Sprinkle smaller seeds like radish seeds on the paper towel until the seeds are clearly visible.
  • Larger seeds such as beans can be wedged between the cup and the paper towel.
  • Set the cups in the sun and keep the towels moist. You will have growth in no time.

Grow your name

What You Need:

  • Small Box (roughly half the size of a shoe box)
  • Grass Seed
  • Potting Soil

What You Do:

  • Get small boxes, line them with plastic, and fill them with potting soil.
  • Invite children to scratch out their name in the soil.
  • Children then sprinkle grass seeds into the scratched out name
  • Gently cover the seeds with soil and soon their name will be
    growing in the garden.

What plants to grow with children

Children like large, brightly coloured flowers and vegetables that grow quickly. Plants such as sunflowers, corn and pumpkins are good examples.

Consider using varieties of plants that have sensory and textural qualities as well. Examples of great sensory plants include:

  • Touch – succulents (such as aloe vera), bottlebrush, snapdragons
  • Taste – basil, strawberries, peas, rosemary, carrots, cherry tomatoes
  • Smell – jasmine, sweet peas, lavender, mint , lemon balm
  • Sight – daffodils, rainbow chard, marigolds, pansies, sunflowers
  • Sound – corn, bamboo and grasses which rustle against each other when the wind blows.

Grow a garden to attract butterflies

There are four main requirements for a successful butterfly garden. These are:

  1. Warmth
  2. Shelter
  3. Food
  4. Water

A few plants that you can grow to attract butterflies include:

  • Anigozanthos species
  • birch (Betula)
  • blueberry (Vaccinium)
  • Epacris impressa
  • Goodenia ovata
  • Grevillea species
  • Melaleuca speciesmaple (Acer)
  • Olearia species
  • Phebalium
  • Philotheca species
  • Pimelea species

Books about gardening

  • Maisy’s Garden by Lucy Cousins
  • Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
  • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  • I Really Wonder What Plant I’m Growing by Lauren Child
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehhlert
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
  • Dinofours: My Seeds Won’t Grow by Steve Metzger

Gardening Rhyme

Plant a little seed

I plant a little seed in the cold, cold ground (Squat down pretend to plant)
Out comes the yellow sun, big and round (Put arms above head like sun)
Down come the raindrops soft and slow (dancing fingers)
Up comes the flower grow, grow, grow (jump as flower emerges)

Safety

  • Supervision is required to ensure children are safe from harmful animals or plants.
  • Check the garden for any chemicals (pellets, sprays) or dangers before exploring.
  • Always use sun protection when playing outside & supervise around water.
  • Make sure children wash their hands after gardening.
  • Kidsafe has a list of which toxic plants to avoid.