Gardening Activities for Preschoolers: Revealing a Whole New World


Gardening activities for preschoolers aren’t just a way to fill time; they’re a door to a world of discovery, learning, and fun. Imagine the thrill on a child’s face as they watch a seed they planted sprout into life or the joy of harvesting a vegetable they’ve nurtured from a tiny seedling. Yet, diving into gardening with young children comes with its unique set of challenges. From selecting the right tools to ensuring safety, there’s a lot to consider to make this experience both enjoyable and educational.

But why garden with preschoolers? The benefits are vast. Gardening can spark curiosity about nature, teach responsibility as they care for plants, and even improve motor skills through hands-on activities. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to get them outdoors, away from screens, and into the fresh air. So, let’s get our hands dirty and explore how to embark on this green-fingered adventure with the little ones.

Getting Started With Gardening Activities for Preschoolers

Choosing the Right Tools

Before we can dream of green shoots and blooming flowers, we need to talk tools. Not all gardening tools are kid-friendly, so it’s crucial to select tools that are safe and suitable for tiny hands. Look for lightweight, durable, and appropriately sized tools designed specifically for children. These can include small spades, rakes, and watering cans. Having their own set of tools not only ensures safety but also gives preschoolers a sense of ownership and responsibility for their gardening tasks.

Safety First

Safety is paramount in any activity with preschoolers, and gardening is no exception. Always supervise your little gardeners, keeping a close eye on them as they explore and work. Teach them the importance of handling tools correctly and the need to wear gloves to protect their hands. Additionally, make sure any area they’re working in is free from hazards such as sharp objects or harmful plants.

Selecting Plants for Gardening Activities for Preschoolers

Easy-to-grow Plants

To keep the enthusiasm alive, start with plants that are forgiving and quick to show results. Sunflowers, radishes, and marigolds are great choices, offering relatively quick gratification for eager little gardeners. These plants are not only easy to grow but can also withstand a bit of neglect, making them perfect for beginners.

Sensory Plants

Gardening is a sensory experience, especially for preschoolers. Choose plants that will engage their senses – fragrant herbs like mint and lavender for smell, lambs’ ears for touch, and brightly colored flowers like nasturtiums for sight. These plants can turn the garden into a sensory playground, opening up opportunities for learning and exploration.

In the next sections, we’ll dive into educational activities that not only bring fun to the garden but also valuable learning experiences. Stay tuned as we uncover the wonders of seed starting indoors, explore the lifecycle of plants, and much more. Gardening with preschoolers is a journey of discovery, for both the children and the adults guiding them. Let’s embark on this adventure together, fostering a love for nature that will grow just as surely as our plants do.

Now, let’s explore some enriching educational activities and creative projects that can deepen preschoolers’ connection with gardening. Each activity is designed not only to educate but to inspire curiosity and a love for nature in our youngest gardeners.

Gardening Activities for Preschoolers: Educational Activities

Seed Starting Indoors

One of the most magical moments in gardening is witnessing the first sprout breaking through the soil. Starting seeds indoors allows preschoolers to observe this fascinating process up close. Use clear plastic containers (like recycled salad boxes) as mini-greenhouses so children can watch the roots forming and stems growing. Begin with easy seeds like beans or peas, which germinate quickly. Engage children by having them help moisten the soil, plant the seeds, and then watch daily for signs of growth. This activity offers an excellent opportunity to teach patience and the importance of care and attention in nurturing living things.

Plant Lifecycle Exploration

Understanding the lifecycle of a plant from seed to sprout, then to a full-grown plant, flower, or vegetable, and back to seed, is a fundamental gardening lesson. Create a simple chart or use a picture book to illustrate this cycle. Then, relate it to the plants you’re growing together. If possible, save seeds from the garden at the end of the season for next year, closing the cycle and reinforcing the lesson.

Weather and Plant Growth

Weather plays a crucial role in gardening, affecting plant growth in various ways. Create a simple weather chart and track the daily weather with your preschoolers. Discuss how rain, sunlight, and temperature changes impact the plants in your garden. For instance, after a rainy day, observe together how the plants look refreshed and vibrant, or on sunny days, notice how they lean towards the light.

Gardening Activities for Preschoolers: Creative Projects

Creating a Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens capture the imagination, offering a magical space where gardening meets play. Together, choose a small section of the garden or a large pot to transform into a fairy wonderland. Use natural materials like sticks, stones, and leaves to create tiny furniture, houses, and paths. Plant low-growing, delicate plants such as moss and ferns to complete the fairy landscape. This project encourages creativity and storytelling, making the garden a place of wonder and imagination.

Painting Rocks for the Garden

Decorating the garden can be as much fun as tending to the plants. Collect rocks and stones of various sizes, and have a painting session to turn them into colorful garden markers or decorations. Use non-toxic paint and let the children’s creativity run wild. They can create rock pets, paint them with bright patterns, or label them with the names of the plants they mark. This activity combines art with gardening, making the garden a canvas for their creativity.

Planting a Rainbow Garden

The concept of a rainbow garden is simple but captivating. Choose plants that bloom in colors of the rainbow, and arrange them in order, creating a vibrant spectrum in the garden. For red, consider planting tomatoes or strawberries; for orange, marigolds or nasturtiums; yellow could be sunflowers or yellow peppers; green could be herbs like basil or chives; blue might be hard, but look for certain varieties of delphinium or lobelia; indigo and violet can be represented by violets or purple basil. This activity teaches color recognition and planning, and once the garden blooms, it offers a stunning visual reward.

Through these educational activities and creative projects, gardening becomes a multi-faceted learning experience for preschoolers. It’s not just about the plants; it’s about engaging with the natural world in a way that stimulates all the senses, fosters creativity, and nurtures a sense of responsibility. As we continue to explore the wonders of gardening together, we’re planting the seeds for a lifelong appreciation of nature and the environment.

As we journey through the final stretch of our gardening adventure with preschoolers, let’s delve into the significance of sensory activities, the value of community gardening, and how technology can play a supportive role. By weaving these elements into our gardening activities, we enrich the experience, making it not just educational but truly holistic.

Gardening Activities for Preschoolers: Sensory Activities

A Garden Sensory Bin

Not all gardening needs to happen outdoors. Create a garden sensory bin using a large container filled with soil, small gardening tools, and various seeds. Add elements like small pots, pebbles, and plastic insects for a touch of whimsy. This activity allows children to dig, plant, and explore the texture and feel of the earth and plants, stimulating their sense of touch, sight, and even smell, all in a controlled indoor environment.

Smell and Tell with Herbs

Herbs offer a fantastic way to engage the sense of smell. Plant a variety of herbs such as mint, basil, lavender, and rosemary. Encourage children to gently rub the leaves between their fingers to release the fragrances and then smell them. You can turn this into a fun game by blindfolding them and having them guess the herb based on scent alone. This activity not only sharpens their sense of smell but also introduces them to a range of natural scents.

Gardening for the Community

Visit a Community Garden

Taking preschoolers to visit a community garden can broaden their understanding of gardening and its impact on a community. It’s an opportunity to see a variety of plants and gardening techniques, meet people who share a passion for gardening, and learn about the importance of community spaces. Such visits can inspire respect and appreciation for communal efforts in beautifying and feeding the neighborhood.

Plant a Tree Together

Planting a tree is a profound experience that can teach preschoolers about long-term care and environmental stewardship. Choose a suitable location and involve the children in every step, from digging the hole to placing the tree and filling it back in. Explain how the tree will grow over the years, providing shade, beauty, and perhaps even fruit for many to enjoy. This activity instills a sense of contribution to the community and the environment.

Incorporating Technology

While gardening is a hands-on activity, technology can enhance learning and engagement. Gardening apps can help track plant growth, identify plants, and provide valuable gardening tips, making them a useful resource for older preschoolers with supervision. Virtual garden tours can also broaden their horizons, allowing them to see and learn about plants and gardens from around the world without leaving their home.


Gardening activities for preschoolers offer a world of exploration, learning, and fun. From starting seeds indoors and exploring the lifecycle of plants to engaging in creative projects like fairy gardens and painting rocks, gardening is a multifaceted activity that enriches preschoolers’ development. It teaches them about nature, responsibility, and the joy of nurturing life. By incorporating sensory activities, community gardening, and even technology, we expand their learning experience, making it richer and more meaningful.

As we wrap up our gardening journey, remember that the true harvest isn’t just the flowers or vegetables your little ones will excitedly pluck from the earth. It’s the moments of wonder, the lessons learned, and the joy shared in the dirt and under the sun. Gardening with preschoolers plants seeds of curiosity, respect for nature, and a sense of accomplishment that can bloom into a lifelong love for gardening and the great outdoors. Let’s cherish these moments and continue to cultivate a greener, more connected world, one little gardener at a time.

FAQs on Gardening Activities for Preschoolers

1. What are the best plants to start with for preschoolers?

Answer: Start with plants that are easy to grow and quick to germinate, such as sunflowers, radishes, peas, and marigolds. These plants are not only resilient but also provide quick gratification, which is essential for keeping young children engaged.

2. How can I ensure the safety of preschoolers during gardening activities?

Answer: Always supervise preschoolers closely during gardening activities. Choose tools that are specifically designed for children, being lightweight and without sharp edges. Teach children the importance of wearing gloves and how to handle tools properly. Ensure the gardening area is free from hazardous materials and sharp objects.

3. Can gardening activities be educational for preschoolers? How?

Answer: Absolutely! Gardening offers a wealth of educational opportunities. For example, seed starting indoors can teach children about plant growth and development, while creating a weather chart can help them understand the impact of weather on plants. Additionally, planting a rainbow garden can be a fun way to learn about colors and planning.

4. How can I make gardening engaging for preschoolers who have a short attention span?

Answer: Focus on activities that provide quick results and sensory experiences. Projects like painting rocks for the garden or creating a fairy garden combine creativity with gardening, making the experience more engaging. Additionally, choosing plants that grow quickly can help maintain their interest as they see the fruits of their labor sooner.

5. Are there any gardening projects that can also help in teaching preschoolers about environmental responsibility?

Answer: Yes, planting a tree together can be an excellent way to teach preschoolers about environmental stewardship. It can be a memorable experience that emphasizes the importance of caring for our planet. Visiting a community garden can also highlight how gardening can contribute to community well-being and environmental health.

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Jim Gomes

I have been fascinated with gardening and growing plants of all types. My parents and grandparents had green thumbs and grew all types of flowers, fruits and vegetables. I have always followed the "old ways" practiced by them and to the maximum extent possible have tried to avoid the use of chemicals in my garden. I hope to be able to help others to do the same.

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