Kid-Friendly Strategies for Flower Gardening

By Shelley Frost

A kid-friendly flower garden is an educational way for your child to learn about caring for plants. Growing flowers teaches your child about plant growth, including pollination and the relationships among things in nature. Keep the garden entertaining and age-appropriate so your little flower gardener benefits from the experience.

Two girls (4-6) holding plants above heads, portrait
credit: RL Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images
Two girls carrying pots of flowers on their heads in the backyard.

Hand Over the Reins

You likely have ideas about how a flower garden should look, but don't stifle your child's creativity and excitement. For a truly joyful gardening experience, allow your child to lead the way when it comes to planning the flower garden. Let her pick out the flowers she wants to grow. You can give her some guidance on the best places to plant each flower, but don't be overly worried about creating the perfect flower garden. Your child will take more pride in her work when she does most of it herself. Get her a set of gardening tools that she can manage -- short, thick handles are usually easiest for kids to control.

Go With a Theme

A themed flower garden is a creative way to help your child plan the space. One option is to plant a butterfly garden. Native flowers often work well to attract butterflies, as well as flowers that are brightly colored -- think red, pink, purple, orange and yellow, suggests the National Wildlife Federation. Another option is to base the them on a particular type or color of flower. You might choose to plant all pink and purple flowers, for example. Annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) also work as part of a themed garden. Instead of planting them in a row, plant the sunflowers in a square with an opening on one side to grow a sunflower house.

Teach Responsibilities and Etiquette

Planting the garden is only part of the lesson for your junior gardener. The continued care of the garden teaches your child what plants need to grow well. Help her decide when her flowers need extra water when the rain isn't enough. Pulling weeds is another chore for young gardeners. Point out the difference between flower seedlings and unwanted weeds. Young children in particular may need a reminder on when it's OK to pick flowers. Cutting flowers from the garden allows your child to enjoy her hard work indoors. She can also share those cut flowers with neighbors to brighten their days. Remind her not to pick flowers from other gardens unless she has permission.

Connect to Learning

Seeing the flowers grow and learning how to take care of them is educational on its own, but you can enhance the learning with extra activities. One option is to integrate literacy with the garden. Read flower-themed books with your child. Options include "Grow Flower, Grow!" by Lisa Bruce, "The Reason for a Flower" by Ruth Heller and "Flower Garden" by Eve Bunting. Another way to integrate learning is by documenting the growth of your flower garden. Give your child a notebook so she can write notes and draw pictures of her flowers as they develop.