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Gardening For Kids

14 Ideas for Gardening For Kids and Nature Play at Home

Staying at home and inside for the day can be difficult, especially with children. Research shows that time spent outside in fresh air, as well as exercise, is an important factor for positive mental and physical health.

If you are lucky enough to have a back yard, front yard or a garden, turn it into a magical place where you can forget about your troubles, enjoy backyard nature play and gardening with kids and find a little bit of relaxation in a stressful world while also having fun and learning.

Even if you don't have much outside space I have compiled a list of nature play activities and gardening activities that you can do at home as well as practical ideas for nature play that helps kids to have fun outdoors.

All of them are simple and easy to set up – sometimes all it takes is a few seeds and a little imagination to bring a little bit of nature to your playtime!

Some of these items are also perfect as kids gardening gifts or to take with you on a short walk with kids too!

Feasting Shed Werribee

What is nature play?

Nature play is simply an activity that involves playing in nature.

It is a way for children to explore the natural world and to interact with the environment around them.

Nature play can be done out in the backyard, in the open air, or in a park or reserve.

healesville sanctuary

benefits of nature play

The benefits of incorporating nature play in early childhood, from babies to toddlers, are many.

Nature play helps kids learn about the natural world in a variety of ways, from the tactile and visual to the emotional, and gives them a sense of belonging in a world they can explore in a way that's safe and nurturing for their needs.

So nature based play not only teaches kids about the natural environment, it can:

  • enhance your child's attention span;
  • improve kids' observation skills;
  • help them develop hand-eye coordination;
  • encourages them to be physically active;
  • helps them develop language skills;
  • help them develop social skills if they are playing with others; and
  • help them build confidence; and
  • help them develop self-esteem.

The educational value of nature play learning extends to right into school and adulthood.

Botanica Botanic Gardens

WHy is gardening good for kids

If you have a garden at home then encouraging the kids to take up gardening is one of the most important things you can do to have a healthy lifestyle. It's great exercise, it's environmentally friendly and it's fun to be outside. So it's no wonder that kids love it!

Plus gardening is not just about growing plants. It helps develop physical fitness, problem solving, and provides great way to bond with family members. It also develops kids’ skills in oral language, reading, writing, math, science, problem solving, concentration, observation, self-regulation, and observation of others. These are all important skills for school readiness.

Finally, if you're struggling to buy a gift for a kid who seems to have everything, gardening gifts for kids are items that will start them on a lifelong journey of tuning into nature and caring for the environment.

Junior Rangers Werribee Park


1. Grow microgreens on your windowsill

Even if you don't have much room you can still get into gardening! Create an edible green window sill with a Microgreens Windowsill Kit.

Everything you need is included, including Australian seeds to grow Broccoli, Radish and Rocket Sprouting Seeds.

BuyMicrogreens Windowsill Kit

Microgreens Windowsill Kit

2. Plant seeds and grow your own food

Grow your own leafy greens or culinary herbs with Victorian company The Little Veggie Patch Co seed kits – Leafy Greens and Culinary Herbs.

Leafy Greens Seed Kit

Not only is growing your own food rewarding, it also encourages kids to eat what they have grown!

Culinary Herbs Seed Kit

3. Attract bugs and bees:

Establish a garden to attract bugs (that you can later catch and inspect) with the Beneficial Bug Seed Kit, including Borage, Dandelion, Dill, Tansy and Clover.

The Little Veggie Patch Co Seed Kit Beneficial Bug

You could also plant the Edible Flowers Seed Kit, with Nasturtium, viola, cornflower, hyssop and sunflower. They are attractive to bees and you can add them your own food (or craft activities) too.

Edible Flowers Seed Kit min

4. Establish a garden bed for kids:

If you’re short on outdoor space, or garden beds, the VegTrug Poppy Planter is perfect for bringing your gardening ideas for kids to life. Children can easily stand to tend to their plants, and the set up is suitable for smaller spaces.

Or to start small, the PlanToys Flower Pot set includes 4 small pots and a wooden trowel and fork for a great little kids gardening kit to start them on the journey of gardening.

Buy theVegTrug Poppy Planter

VegTrug standing garden bed
VegTrug Poppy Planter

5. Make your own pots

Make your own earth friendly pots with the Paper Pot Maker – the press form makes paper pots from nothing more than newspaper. And they can be planted directly into the soil once seeds are established.

Buy thePaper Pot Maker

paper pot maker min
Paper Pot Maker

6. Get some garden tools

Get to work with this kids gardening set of wood and metal garden tools that will fit neatly into small hands.

Or the Garden Tools Tote includes a storage tote for the kids gardening tools, kids gardening gloves and a watering can to slot safely into for storage and transport.

Wood And Metal Garden Tools

7. Explore your garden 

Look at your garden and its inhabitants up close with the multifunctional Optic Wonder – combining binoculars, magnifying glass, compass, magnifying mirror and observation plane, mirror for signals and a stereoscopic viewer.

Or equip kids with the Navir Explorer Belt, that includes the Optic Wonder, but also adds a bug viewer, water bottle, note book, 2 carabiners, a canvas bag and an adjustable belt to carry everything.

Navir Explorer Belt min

8. Set up a swing

If you’ve got some nice stable trees in your backyard, invest in this pocket swing.  It will be fun (or at least educational) to set up and to use.

Fore a more permanent fixture, the Child Swing can be used indoors or out, and canvas base is comfortable for tummy swinging (or superman-ing as we call it).

Pocket Swing

9. Collect and press flowers

Pick any flowers and interesting leaves from your garden and save them with this flower press. When ready, the pressed flowers can be used for craft.

Buy Flower press

Flower Press
Flower press

10. Catch some bugs

Go over the dos and don’ts of looking under rocks and branches, then use the Bug Catcher Kit to collect and inspect some micro-beasts from your backyard.

Or keep bugs like royalty with the SmartLab Bug Playground, or the simpler Haba Terra Kid Bug Beaker Magnifier for short term inspection.

Bug Catcher
Bug Playground

11. Establish a worm farm

Set up a worm farm, decrease your kitchen waste and get some great natural fertiliser for your indoor and outdoor plants from the worm juice and the turned over worm-produced compost.

Buy aworm farm

worm farm min
Worm farm

12. Set up a fairy garden

There are lots of products available to set up a temporary or permanent fairy garden in your yard. 

Fairy gardens are perfect for some pretend play, and a great excuse to head out for a walk and collect some items such as fallen leaves, feathers and twigs to add to the scene.

Fairy Garden

13. Nurture an indoor plant

Bring the outdoors in with the Plant Runner Kids Indoor Plant Kit.

It comes with a plant, pot, potting mix and biodegradable tarp to pot the new arrival on. The plant choices change from month to month, but are all relatively easy-care.

Related: Best indoor plant gift deliveries in Melbourne

plant runner kids

14. Get more outdoor ideas

If you need more activity inspiration, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do is chock a block full of activities to do outside no matter the season, or to make inside with inspiration from the outdoors.

BuyThe Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do

Anti Boredom Book
The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do

Have an indoor plant delivered as a gift

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Gardening and Nature Play Pins
Ideas for Gardening and Nature Play at Home – PIN this picture to save this post!

This post contains affiliate links. If you book using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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