Kinder Garden: Creating Functional Theme Gardens for Kids
Giving a child a garden is a wonderful way to spark interest in the natural world and offers built-in lessons in ecology and personal responsibility. And at the end of the day, it’s something beautiful and rewarding that they can take pride in, knowing that they did it themselves. Parents will appreciate having some time to get things done in the garden, since the kids will be occupied with their own space. Just don’t forget that this space belongs to them, and will be more gratifying if you take a “hands off” approach. Try to choose a spot where you won’t be worried if it doesn’t look perfect, and where it’s ok if a few weeds or garden plants drop seeds – that’s all part of the experience.
When it comes to choosing a theme garden, the options are pretty much limitless, and it can be tough to choose just one when you have limited space. Here are some of our favorite creative ideas for theme gardens that will delight your child all summer long.
Bee and Butterfly Garden
Plant a garden for pollinators, then sit back and watch them feast! As added bonuses, you can harvest beautiful bouquets and your insect-pollinated garden veggies will thank you by producing extra-heavy yields. Creating a little path through it using flat stones surrounded by White Clover or Thyme will allow your child to enjoy the garden and observe all its flying visitors. We recommend:
Use tall sunflowers to create a secret hiding place. Sow the hiding place with White Clover to make a comfy spot to sit, then surround it with alternating tall and medium-height sunflowers like:
For more info on flower houses visit: http://www.kidsgardening.org/activity/secret-hideaways-and-fun-structures
Tea Party Garden
Design the garden as a tea party space, using recycled materials like boards and logs to make a mini table. Upended logs make cute chairs, and some yard sale tea cups will complete the set. Sow the tea area with White Clover for a cozy groundcover and surround it with herbal tea plants such as:
Choose vegetables in every color of the rainbow – but look for ones that aren’t their usual colors. This is a great opportunity to learn about the different nutrients associated with different colors – like lycopene in purple carrots and anthocyanin in blue tomatoes. We recommend:
And try rainbow-colored Iko Iko Bell Peppers!
Focus on a year-round food supply with a garden that will provide all winter. Plant frost-tolerant crops like spinach and kale, storage crops like squash, potatoes and carrots, and heat-loving crops for easy, kid-friendly summer preserving projects like freezing herbs, tomatoes and peppers. We recommend:
Have a great idea for a "kinder garden"? Have your kids designed gardens of their own? Share your creative ideas in a comment below!