One of the great things about growing a backyard garden is that it's something you can do as a family. But when you have little ones you want to make sure you are choosing kid-friendly plants for your garden to keep your children engaged.
What makes a plant “kid-friendly”?
1. Appealing to the Senses – Plants with fuzzy leaves, strong scent, or unique motions are all kid-friendly plants that children will enjoy.
2. Delicious, Edible Fruits – Plants that produce edible fruit are fabulous, the child can have a tangible reward for their efforts.
3. Easy-to-Plant Seeds – When a child can be part of the process from start to finish that makes them more involved. But some seeds are too tiny for small fingers, so plants with large seeds are great for kids!
What plants are good for kids?
While kids can enjoy many plants and there are a myriad of options that fit the above three points, here are ten of my favorites for kids of all ages.
Green Beans – Green beans meet two of the three tips above having large, easy-to-grasp seeds and delicious edible fruits that mature quickly. Unlike some garden vegetables, green beans will be ready to harvest in just a few short weeks so kids don't have to wait long.
Lamb's Ears – These easy-to-grow plants are usually grown as annuals and are brilliant as part of a mixed bed or border. Their fuzzy, silver leaves beg to be touched, which makes them perfect for a sensory garden.
Strawberries – Strawberries are an easy-to-grow fruit that are so delicious and that children love to pick and eat. If your kids are allergic to strawberries you could plant thornless raspberries instead.
Chives – It's so easy to grow chives in a small garden space that it is perfect for kids. Let kids scatter the seeds in early spring and enjoy the delicious cut-and-grow herb.
Mint – Mint is a delicious herb that has a lot of different uses. It's easy to grow, tolerates more shade than many of the other plants, and does well in containers.
Potatoes – Lots of pretty greens on the top, potatoes are a root crop that grow below the ground. It's fun to turn over a shovel full of dirt and uncover the buried treasure.
Sunflowers – The seeds are the perfect size for kids' fingers and the flowers are gorgeous and huge. At the end of the summer you'll have bountiful seed heads that kids can roast and turn into a delicious snack as well. It's a total win/win.
Snapdragons – While these flowers don't have edible value, being able to play with them and squeeze the flower mouths open and shut makes them a ton of fun for children. Enjoy these annuals in the early spring before summer's heat sends them into hiding for the year.
Aloe – This herb does well as a tropical plant or as a container plant and has some great benefits for the skin. Kids like the spiky leaves, and in case of sunburn or skin irritation, the aloe leaves are great.
Geranium – Lovely container plants with beautiful flowers, broad scented leaves, and edible blooms to boot, the geraniums you want in your kid-friendly garden go by the scientific name “Pelargonium”. Getting your kids involved in gardening can create a love of growing things for a lifetime. Start with some of these kid-friendly plants to make it easy for them to feel successful right from the start.