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by Journals to Freedom May 14, 2021 5 min read
Does it seem like your kids are always looking for something to do or get into? I feel like my kids are always asking me for a “job” to do - something that they can help with. They're bored and they want a project. Well, we've got the perfect solution!
Why not start a perennial garden with your kids? I am doing this with my toddler and preschooler, but it's fun for all ages and it will keep your kids entertained all summer long (and beyond)!
Plus, gardening is good for our health and it teaches patience, responsibility, and how to care for things, which is super important as we raise our little ones!
Perennials are great plants for kids to care for because they come back every year. In this blog post, we'll look at things to consider when planning a perennial garden for kids, and also go over some fool proof perennials that kids will love caring for!
First, you'll want to find a place for your garden. Do you have a sunny, warm spot with lots of direct light, or is it shady and sheltered? Different plants like different conditions, so keep this in mind as you think about your garden location.
The garden space itself doesn't have to be huge. You can even start a perennial garden for kids in containers. This is perfect for keeping down the weeds too. It will also allow you to easily move the containers to another spot in the future, should you need to.
Of course, you're going to want to create an outdoor space that is safe for children to play in and explore, and that includes planting non-toxic plants.
Use this free garden grid layout printable with your children to design and map out exactly where you will plant each of your perennial plants and flowers!
One of the biggest dangers in gardening for kids is inadvertently using toxic plants in your garden. Kids are curious and love to explore, so it's best to avoid using poisonous plants to help make your garden child-friendly.
Even though you may avoid having any toxic plants in your child's garden, it is still important to know which plans are poisonous to touch or eat in case you encounter them elsewhere. Here are a couple online databases of poisonous plants:
For budding, beginner gardeners, it's also a good idea to begin with low maintenance, established plants. These might be things like succulents and herbs. The added advantage of a herb garden is that you can use the herbs in your cooking - another perfect project to do with kids!
Chives: These plants are a great choice for kids since they don't need much care and are very hardy. They have pretty, little flowers and of course, you can add the chopped leaves to your cooking.
Lemon Balm: this easy-to-care-for herb looks like mint, but it has the most incredible lemon scent. It can also be used in cooking
Dahlia: these plants have beautiful flowers, and you can get varieties in every color imaginable. They will bloom throughout the summer and autumn. They're also very easy to care for! They can be started from seed, so if you want to show your kids how a plant grows from scratch, dahlias are a perfect choice.
Canna Lily: (Not to be confused with Calla Lily or Lilium which are toxic!). This is a very impressive plant, with tropical-looking foliage - perfect for a kid's garden den! It has showy flowers in red, orange, or yellow.
Daylily (Hemerocallis): these are a hardy perennial, and they will bloom for months on end, from early to late summer. They're not keen on shady spots though so if your garden doesn't get much light, this one isn't for you.
Lilac: this is a fantastic choice in a perennial garden for kids. It can be grown as a bush or a tree. It also has lovely flowers that smell incredible.
These are just a few of the many perennial plants that are easy to care for and non-toxic. Not all plants thrive in all regions, so to set your kids up for success, you'll want to establish which perennials grow well in your area.
Discover what plant region or hardiness zone you are in with this tool from the USDA.
Once you have a list of plants that are suitable for your garden and region, let your kids choose what they want to grow themselves from the list. It's a great way for them to learn about different plants and it keeps them engaged with the garden throughout the season.
Either way is completely fine (& fun!) but here are some points about each:
Grow from seed: Kids are natural learners, so they will enjoy the hands-on experience of planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful plants.
Growing plants from seeds are great fun, but of course, this requires more patience. You'll also need an appropriate space to sow and cultivate the seeds, not to mention potting soil and seed trays.
Established plants: this is a better option for children who like to make things happen right now! They can see new growth quickly as the new brighter green leaves grow in. (Anyone else check their plants every day for new growth?😅)
Alternatively, you could start with some established plants, and also sow some from seed. That way, you'll have the best of both worlds.
Teach the kids how to take care of their new garden by watering it regularly. They can also be involved in weeding and pruning, so they can learn how beneficial it is to be responsible for a living thing.
You can use some of the pages in this printable Garden Planner to keep track of when you planted, watered, weeded your garden!
Choose perennials that will bloom at different times during the year, so there's always something new to look at.
What color scheme do your kids want from their garden? You could take colors from their favorite movie, for instance. Alternatively, it could be a garden with a variety of colors, so there's something for everyone.
Use kid-friendly gardening tools. Try to avoid big tools. You might be tempted to buy a "big boy/girl" gardening set (or even an adult-sized one), but your kids will probably find it too heavy and cumbersome to use. There are so manycute gardening tools for kids on the market anyway, and your child will be all the keener to be in the garden if they get their own tools.
Gardening can be a great way to teach kids how plants grow and even where their food comes from. Planning a perennial garden for kids doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many perennials that children will enjoy caring for, and they come back every year! There are some things to consider when planning a perennial garden with your child or children in mind, such as using non-toxic plants that are low maintenance. Once your kids have caught the gardening bug, they'll be eager to look after the garden without any help from their parents!
Do you or someone you know have kids who would love to start their own garden? Pin this post to Pinterest to save it for later or share it with family and friends!
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