The best child-friendly garden ideas involve children in every part of the gardening process from planning to harvest. A child's garden does not have to have straight rows or be neat, according to Ohio State University. Instead, it should offer many "teachable moments." Consider safety when creating the garden. Create a planning list with the children, choose seeds and encourage them to keep a garden journal.
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To create a tepee, place three tall stakes, such as 6-foot bamboo poles, into the ground in a triangle shape. Allow the top of the three stakes to lean together. Use twine or yarn to tie the tops together. Plant three to five bean seeds around the bottom of each stake. Beans come in a variety of colours including purple, yellow, red and green with purple stripes. Once the beans grow, children have a private play area inside the tepee. Create a play area outside of the tepee as well that includes lots of brightly coloured vegetables. Allow the children to look at seed catalogues and pick out vegetables that interest them. Show them a wide array of lettuces; some are red, some are green, and some are striped. Radishes and tomatoes come in a rainbow of colours too, and don't forget to show them the purple, orange and yellow cauliflower.
Creating a sunflower maze is a fun activity that will provide hours of fun for children once the sunflowers begin to grow. Plan this child-friendly garden in early spring. Involve the children by getting them to make seed tapes. The correct way to do this, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is to cut strips of paper, measure out the distance between each seed, put a pencil mark in that spot and then attach a seed to each pencil mark using a drop of glue. The seed tapes will need to air dry in a place where they can lay flat. When the time comes to lay out the sunflower maze, simply remove the grass from the area the maze will grow in, lay the seed tape down, making sure to create a maze, water well and allow the sunflowers to grow. Children will have a good time going through the maze and watching the birds, bees and butterflies that visit the sunflowers.
Fairy Tale Garden
A fairy tale garden can stretch a child's imagination. Any fairy tale, from the Wizard of Oz to Hansel and Gretel will work. Create pathways of yellow brick, rock or coloured sand. Make waterways using blue sand. Add a playhouse to this garden, if possible. Create areas for children to play and rest. A Cinderella garden would include pumpkins, a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk garden would include beans and a Princess and the Pea garden would include peas. Look for flowers, such as hollyhock, that children can play with. Use props, such as scarecrows, garden gnomes or even small animals made of materials that will stand up to outdoors conditions. Keep safety in mind, children fall and run into things, so do not overcrowd a child-friendly garden.
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