Creating a toddler garden is the perfect way of ensuring your toddler can enjoy the delights of being outside and exploring nature safely. Whether you have a small garden which can be made completely toddler-proof or whether you want to design a specific toddler play area within a larger garden, you will find loads of ideas and inspirations here.
Toddlers love to copy us and be involved. While we are performing activities which can include them easily, that is not a problem: hanging out the washing, they can hand us the pegs from the pegbag, brushing the patio, they can join in with their own broom, they can rake up their own pile of leaves in the autumn and be in charge of watering the flower pots.
There are loads of toddler garden tools specifically designed for young children, which they will love using, and will also help them develop the skills needed for moving on to more 'adult' gardening tasks within a few years.
So far, so good, but what about those times when the sun is shining and they want to be outside, we want them to get some fresh air and wear themselves out (!) but at the same time we really need to get on with some activities which are not suitable for them? The perfect solution is to create a confined and safe toddler play area within the garden, a little place all for themselves: a Toddler Garden!
Toddlers and young children are really good at amusing themselves, but at the same time, it is unrealistic to expect them to just go outside and keep themselves safely amused without providing some basic play equipment. A sandpit, slide and playhouse are usually top of the list for a toddler garden, and most children will love having a swing available too. During the summer, a paddling pool will provide hours of fun. On the other hand, see-saws and climbing frames are just accidents waiting to happen and should be avoided for very young children.
When considering the needs of your child and designing a toddler garden, keep safety in mind at all times - check out our basic Safety in the Garden advice.
Then, having completely toddler proofed your garden or created the perfect little private toddler garden, sit back and watch your child explore, learn and grow together with nature while you sip at your lemonade in the sunshine!
Growing Plants with Toddlers
Toddlers will also appreciate being able to plant their own seeds and watch them grow - choose plants with large seeds which don't require too much care and preferable grow quickly for them to begin with, as young children find it difficult to handle the smaller seeds and don't have the patience to wait for slow germinating plants!
Nasturtiums are a good choice, as their seeds are large enough to be handled easily by your toddler, and the flowers and leaves are edible - check out our list of poisonous plants and poisonous flowers before deciding which to buy. Miniature sunflowers are also a favourite, and the smaller varieties don't even need staking, so are pretty and easy care. Both nasturtiums and sunflowers are edible, check out some of the other common edible flowers to plant together with your toddler.
Make or buy a solid planter for them as their very own garden for growing flowers or even some vegetables - lettuce and radishes are quick to grow and can be eaten raw, and growing strawberries is easy enough, they are resilient and loved by most children. Cherry tomatoes can be grown by a child of 3 to 4 years and while it will need a little more care than strawberries or lettuce, the joy of being rewarded with a bunch of sweet-tasting cherry tomatoes is enough to win them over to the growing their own fruit and veg for life.
As well as growing outside plants, the toddler and pre-school age is perfect for introducing children to indoor house plants. Young children are naturally very tactile and will find plants such as the aloe vera fascinating to touch ... the fleshy leaves and pointed ends just demand to be explored by tiny fingers!
Useful Sites for Information on Toddlers
Parenting Toddlers offers a vast store of practical advice and tips on parenting toddlers, from toddler discipline, safety, potty training, activities for toddlers and much more.
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Recommended for Toddlers
These books are perfect for reading together with your toddler!
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