April showers bring May flowers, and lots of chances to get outside and dig in the dirt, smell the flowers and experience spring with your little one. This is sensory play at its best – all natural! Here are nine ways you can garden with your baby.
Photo: Linda Aslund via Flickr
Sensational Sensory Garden
Give your toddler his own garden patch by creating a mini sensory garden with non-toxic, edible plants. Herbs like mint and basil are safe to touch, smell and taste. Add an edible flower like pansies and you’ll have a lovely spot for exploration. You can set it all up a small section of your garden or a cluster of little pots your gardener can call her very own. Wondering what’s safe to plant? Check out this post from Kids Gardening for guidance.
Photo: Brian Leon via Flickr
Digging in the dirt is always fun, and one-year-olds can help dig holes and plant seeds. Give them wildflower seeds to scatter or beans to nestle in thumb-sized holes. Pumpkin and carrot seeds are also fun choices for gardening with littles.
Photo: Kristi Jay Photo via Flickr
Crawling and flying creatures fascinate little ones. You can add a little extra insect life to your garden by releasing live ladybugs. Pick up a Ladybug Land and watch larvae become red spotted bugs, then bring your new friends outdoors to your backyard. And, of course, releasing ladybugs isn’t just fun – it’s good for the garden, too.
Available at Insect Lore, $24.95.
Photo: www.bluewaikiki.com via Flickr
Babies and toddlers can dig (or hang out) right alongside you in their own little patch when outfitted with gardening gear. With a little shovel, a solid plastic magnifying glass to study bugs and a sunhat, your little one will be ready for outdoor adventures.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
Toddlers can’t get enough time with water. With a watering pail of their own or a spray bottle, kiddos can help give budding plants the sprinkling of water that they need. This sturdy green Hape watering pail is just the right size for toddler hands and will complete your gardening kit.
Available at Right Start, $4.95
Photo: Photo Cindy via Flickr
Take time to explore the garden at your little one’s level. That might mean rolling around on a blanket and watching the wind blow through the trees, collecting leaves, plucking fresh tomatoes, smelling flowers or tiptoeing through endless trails through tulips.
Books for a Rainy Day
When it’s too wet outside to garden, enjoy some garden-themed board books inside. The Carrot Seed is perfect for a toddler’s attention span with its classic tale of a little boy determined to nurture his favorite vegetable. Planting a Rainbow has vibrant illustrations that make it the perfect way to introduce little ones to growing flowers.
Impatient little ones can have their love of budding things squashed by a long wait. Give them the chance to see seeds blossom quickly with super seeds that’ll grow in seven days. Bonus: if you don’t have the space or the green thumb for a full garden, these Buzzy Seeds Elephant Grass Grow Kits give your little one a simple, low maintenance taste of gardening.
Available at Amazon, $9.99.
Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita via Flickr
Bring butterflies and hummingbirds to entertain baby with a pollinator-friendly garden. Plant milkweed, snapdragons, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, or echinacea to bring flying friends to your yard to mesmerize your little one.
Have you introduced your baby to the wonders of spring? What did you do together?