Garden Ideas to Do with the Whole Family
Family gardening together provides bonding time, teaches responsibility, and offers a sense of accomplishment. If this is a new hobby you have picked up — or want to try — check out this list of garden ideas to do with the whole family.
Family Gardening Activities
1. Create a family-friendly garden
Planning a garden layout takes preparation. You’ll need to choose a site that will get full sun most of the day, and take the time to prepare the soil well. You can involve the kids in this stage by letting them claim a section of the garden for them to grow what they want. They can help spread a few inches of leaf compost over your garden bed and turn the soil over to mix it in.
While preparing the layout, make sure there are no sharp fence wires and let the younger children use only kid-friendly gardening tools for safety.
2. Choose a garden theme
Get the whole family to pitch in ideas for a garden theme. An example could be a snack garden where you plant vegetables that you and the kids can eat as snacks after harvesting, like cherry tomatoes or carrots. Don’t forget to make a healthy dip, like a yogurt-based one that you can flavor with herbs from the garden.
Also, consider a rainbow garden with plants of all colors of the rainbow. Plant red roses, orange tiger lilies, yellow sunflowers, and so forth. Or pick your child’s favorite book and plant all the vegetables, flowers, and other plants that are mentioned in the book.
3. Assemble bird feeders
Have some birds visit and do some bird watching while the family tends to the garden. Simply upcycle items around the house like plastic bottles, milk cartons, gallon jugs, or tin cans and fill them with bird seeds.
For the tin can bird feeder, turn the can horizontally, make a few holes, attach a string and tie it to a tree. Keep one side of the tin can open and add seeds inside. Decorate by painting or adding glitter and stickers.
4. Conduct a garden scavenger hunt
For a fun activity that also teaches observation skills, conduct a garden scavenger hunt. Once your garden is set up and your plants are starting to grow, put together a list of things to find such as a flower that hasn’t bloomed yet a set number of stones, or a yellow flower pot.
For the younger ones, print out images of what they should be looking for, and for the older kids, a written list. Once they’ve found an item, have them check it off the list or point it out to you. End the activity by awarding scavenger hunters with a prize.
5. Make a fairy garden
Get creative together by creating a fairy garden that you can place around your plants. For your whimsical garden, gather moss, tiny furniture, and even a mini house to entice the fairies. Arrange and place these items directly on the soil and have the family use their imagination for a theme like a beach fairy garden with mini beach chairs and umbrellas.
6. Make functional and upcycled garden decorations
Paint, glue buttons, shells, or other objects and write the names of each plant on small stones. Use these as garden markers. Don’t have stones? Spray-paint and decorate bottles, turn them upside down, and stick them in the soil as garden markers as well. Or have old furniture? Remove upholstery from an old chair, repaint it, and cover it with moss and other plants as décor.
7. Create a container garden for indoors
If you don’t have space for gardening on the ground, you can still start a garden with the whole family by making a container garden. Starting one first requires choosing the right container. Make sure it has holes so excess water will drain.
And if practicality matters more than looks, you can get 5-gallon buckets and drill holes in the bottom. Fill it with high-quality soil that’s free of harmful chemicals, place your plants in the sun, water, and feed with high-quality fertilizer when necessary. Don’t forget to have your kids decorate the container with paint or garden-inspired stickers.
8. Maintain a gardening journal
Maintaining a garden takes a lot of effort, but with the whole family, you can make it fun. You’ll need to beat the weeds (one trick is to cover your garden beds around the plants with a straw!) and watch for little pests. Additionally, watching out for signs of disease and watering properly will be sure to keep your schedule busy.
Take this opportunity to teach responsibility and consider keeping a gardening journal to keep track of which family member is responsible for each task. This journal can also be used to write what each member did on that day for the garden, any observations of growth, or to draw pictures and store memories for years to come.
9. DIY potpourri
Make your own potpourri at home with flowers from your garden. These are great natural air fresheners or will work as thoughtful gifts. It’s a simple and family-friendly craft for all ages. Gather bloomed flowers from the garden and set them out to dry on paper towels. Once dried, it’s ready to be placed in sachets or jars without the lid on so you can smell the flowers. Experiment with combinations of natural ingredients like dried orange peels, small pinecones, or cinnamon sticks too.
10. Schedule a harvest party
Few things in life are better than heading out with a basket and gathering the freshest and tastiest vegetables you’ve ever had. This also encourages healthy eating as kids will likely be more open to trying the vegetables, they took part in growing. Plan a party to gather, prepare and eat your hard-earned vegetables. Happy gardening!
Originally published in September 2020. Updated in July 2021.