Tips for Starting a Garden in an Early Childhood Setting 

Gardening activities are a great way to get children involved with nature while teaching them about how things grow! Children can learn scientific concepts, cooperation skills, and more when taking part in gardening tasks and activities. It can be intimidating to start a garden if you have never done it before, so here are some tips for getting started! 

Start small. 

Starting small can be doing a short, one-time seed sprouting activity, or starting 1-2 containers outside or inside near a sunny window. Taking small steps in your gardening journey can help you, your staff, and the children get used to the process and routine of taking care of your new plants.  

Keep it simple. 

Too many new plants at once can be overwhelming, and you may not have the time or space to take care of them all! Keeping it simple can help everyone give the plants the attention they need. 

Find items that your program already enjoys. 

Is pizza a lunchtime staple? Try planting a pizza garden! Plant Italian herbs, such as basil and oregano to use as seasoning on your pizzas. You can even plant tomatoes for the sauce and bell peppers for toppings! Think of the foods that are already enjoyed by the children in your care and incorporate them into your garden. 

Let the children care for the garden. 

You don’t have to do all of the work! Children can do almost all tasks in the garden, including planting, watering, digging, placing soil, harvesting, and more. Doing these tasks not only helps you and the garden but strengthens their gross and fine motor skills as well! Letting children take care of the garden also gives them a sense of empowerment, which encourages them to try the fruits and vegetables they grew in the garden. 

Ask for help from families and your community. 

Families can help by gathering supplies for the garden and even completing gardening tasks. One of your families may have a gardening expert to help with your garden! Involve families after your harvest by setting up a produce box at pickup so fruits and veggies can be enjoyed at home.

If you have any questions about starting a garden in your early childhood setting, we are here to help!