Many local and online stores sell sturdy gardening tools for children. Using child-sized real tools is an excellent way to insure gardening is fun, and not awkward or frustrating, for children. The National Gardening Association works with teachers, schools and children to create gardens and gardening programs throughout the United States. The National Gardening Association also has a "Gardening with Kids Resource Catalog," that recommends and offers "plant-based curricula, horticultural information and products that engage kids in active learning and exploration," including tools "sized for young gardeners or designed to solve gardening challenges."
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Most children prefer real tools that are strong enough for digging, raking, weeding, carrying, and containing in the garden. The Gardening with Kids website's Preschool Kids' Tool Set with "five colourful tools for a variety of jobs," includes a high-quality shovel, hoe, rake, push broom, and leaf rake with "wooden handles and powder-coated metal heads."
The For Small Hands company offers 3- to 5-year-olds a set of lightweight child-sized real garden tools including a shovel, hoe, metal rake, and leaf rake. The company's set of four gardening tools proportioned to fit elementary school-age children, includes a bamboo leaf rake, a garden rake, hoe, and shovel, all featuring "strong lacquered hardwood handles with sturdy steel heads" and a lifetime manufacturer's guarantee.
Home Depot's Little Gardener Set contains three planter pots, two tools with interchangeable handles, a pair of gardening gloves, and a watering can.
The Little Tikes Yard Set consists of garden tools for children ages 4+, including a rake and shovel with "kid-size easy-grip handles" and a "Twist 'n spray garden hose nozzle sprayer with 4 fun-shaped spray nozzles."
According to The Schools Vegetable Patch website, "wheelbarrows...rate very highly with young gardeners. Most children thoroughly enjoy moving things, and wheelbarrows can be used for transporting weeds, leaves and more." Children's wheelbarrows are recommended for age 3 and older. Available wheelbarrows include:
Radio Flyer Kids' Wheelbarrow, a real wheelbarrow scaled down for kids, with a durable moulded steel body, wooden handles and rubber tires;
Learning Curve John Deere Wheelbarrow, featuring large rubber tires, steel tube legs, wooden handles and authentic John Deere graphics;
The Kids' Wheelbarrow from Wackyworldsof.com features a poly body with wooden handles, steel front tray braces and legs, and a solid rubber tire;
Ames True Temper Real Tools For Kids Lil' Wheelbarrow features a corrosion-proof poly tray and sealed hardwood handles.
A small rake with durable metal tines allows a child to help rake leaves and clean up flowerbeds. The company For Small Hands provides real child-sized tools for families and schools. The company's rake selection includes the Child's Metal Leaf Rake and the Child's Bamboo Leaf Rake, both properly scaled working garden tools for children ages 3 to 5.
Ames brand kids' tools are "made in the USA and downsized for children, but quality-built for real gardening jobs. They have bright colours and are made from forged steel with hardwood handles," as described by the Gardening with Kids website. The True Temper Kids Poly Leaf Rake has a 42-inch handle and a plastic head.
Digging holes is a gardening activity that can keep children busy for hours. A kid-size, long-handled shovel makes digging in the garden easier and more fun. The most durable shovels have a wood handle and a steel head, and can be purchased from places like Smith and Hawken for around £6 (as of 2010).
Garden Kids Tools & Supplies has square shovels, spades, and fox point shovels that are "eco-friendly and safe for kids to use." These kid-size gardening tools work well for landscaping and gardening in small areas.
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