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10+ Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

DIY Garden Crafts

Add cute and whimsical touches to your yard to create a kid-friendly garden perfect for littles ones ready to explore and learn. 

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How to create a kid friendly garden with cute stepping stones and garden beds.

Hello Crafty Friends! Today I have some fun ideas for turning your outdoor space into a kid-friendly garden area. From adding whimsical surprises kids will delight in discovering to creating fun and playful garden beds, these ideas are a great starting point to creating a space everyone will enjoy. 

How to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

 1.  Choose safe and friendly plants for kids.

Toddler points to the purple flowers on a large lavender plant.

One important part of creating a kid-friendly garden is choosing plants that are safe and non-toxic in the areas children will most likely be. This can be simple like placing toxic plants away from walkways or paths children will be on. You can also tuck them behind non-toxic plants keeping them far out of reach of little ones.

If just starting your garden, you may opt for purchasing only non-toxic plants. As children get older you can always add to your garden. Choosing plants will depend on the age of your children and your own comfort level. Little ones should always be supervised when outside, especially around bright and colorful flowers they may try to taste!

2.  Include fun and playful plants!

Balloon flowers in a garden.

Incorporate fun and playful plants in your garden such as balloon flowers! My kids love watching our balloon flowers throughout the summer waiting for them to pop open. A few other family favorites are allium (giant lollipop plants), sunflowers, snapdragons, turtleheads and sedum (which change from green to a fiery red in the fall). These plants are fun to watch grow and change.

3. Have fun with your garden beds.

Two garden beds; the top features numbers with plants in front of them, the other letters of the alphabet.
Two garden beds from the new children’s garden at Boerner Botanical Gardens.

We visited the Boerner Botanical Garden’s new children’s garden on a recent trip and I was so inspired by their beautifully designed garden beds.

One bed featured metal numbers that coordinated with the number of plants planted in front of them. Another garden bed had all 26 letters of the alphabet. In front of each letter stake was a plant that started with the letter. For example, G is for geranium.

These ideas can be incorporated into your own gardens! Maybe all 26 letters is too many, but consider a garden bed with a child’s name. How cool would that be?

If you find yourself in Wisconsin, I recommend a visit to Boerner – their new children’s garden is so big with lots of interactive elements for kids plus gorgeous flowers – it really is fun for all ages.

4. Create Kid-Friendly Paths

Hand painted stepping stones.

Creating paths welcomes kids into the garden and makes it more accessible to them. If using stepping stones like these hand-painted stones, be sure to place them close together making it easier for kids to walk on.

Stepping stone paths are also a great opportunity to add color and personality to your garden – and painting them can be a great project your kids can help with! Check out my tutorial on making your own DIY garden stepping stones using outdoor paint and inspiration from children’s books!

5. Add fun name markers for your plants!

Colorfully painted stones with names of plants written on them.
Painted garden markers by Crafts by Amanda.

Whether you have a vegetable garden or flower garden, curious kids will love reading the names of the plants in your garden. Adding name markers gives kids a chance to learn about what is in the garden and increase their knowledge and understanding of plants.

These painted rock garden markers from Crafts by Amanda are colorful and are sure to stand out. You can even include kids in making plant markers by having them help you paint the rocks! Amanda used my favorite outdoor paint, DecoArt Patio Paint, and wrote the names of the plants using paint pens. Head to her blog to learn how to make these fun rocks.

6. Add whimsical garden art!

Three colorful ladybug garden ornaments made from plastic bowls with beaded legs.

Adding garden art is a wonderful way to add color and and playfulness to any area of your garden or yard. I love tucking my handmade garden art throughout our flowers and plants.

Not only does garden art make the space feel more inviting and friendly to children, it also creates a beautiful juxtaposition when placed among natural plants. Garden art can be made from a variety of materials including wood, metal, plastic, cloth or cement. It can interact with the wind and sun adding movement to your garden.

Check out my tutorials for making your own DIY garden art including some made from upcycled materials like my tinfoil butterflies and a marker cap mobile kids can help you create!

7.  Add critter-friendly homes!

Toad house made from a clay pot covered in decorative stones.

Gardens are a great place for kids to see bugs, birds, butterflies, toads, and all sorts of little critters they will find fascinating.

Adding bird houses, butterfly feeders, and toad houses can encourage these fun critters to visit your garden. Many of these projects can be made with the help of kids like these fun toad houses!

8.  Invite the fairies!

A stone with a fairy door painted on it is nestled in amongst greenery and twigs.
Painted fairy door by Adventure in a Box.

The quickest way to infuse any garden with a bit of magic is by adding a fairy door. Whether you paint the door on a rock as Liska of Adventure in a Box did, or you create a door from wood, these cute additions to your garden will invite all curious kids to take a closer look.

Attach your fairy door against a tree or tree stump or nestle it among leaves, twigs and moss to make it appear as though fairies are living in your garden! Add the doors and wait for kids to discover them for a cute surprise, or ask kids to help create magical fairy homes they can visit daily.

My daughter loves creating little stone paths leading to our fairy doors and I’ve caught her making them treats like “petal soup”!

9.  Add kid-friendly seating!

White garden bench with fancy names of vegetables painted on the back of the fence which resembles plant stakes.
Vegetable garden bench by The House on Silverado.

One of the best parts about a garden is sitting and enjoying the scenery! Not many kids – especially little ones – want to sit for long, but having a nice place to sit and eat a snack can be nice. Seating in your garden will offer kids a chance to look around and ask “what was that??” every time a bee buzzes or a cricket chirps.

Nikey, from The House on Silverado, has created the cutest themed garden bench in her vegetable garden. Such a wonderful addition to a garden! Head to her site to see how she gave her bench a makeover and created this fun seating option. 

10. Provide kids with their own garden tools!

Children's garden tools with kid's gloves are sitting in a garden.

When my kids were little they loved gardening alongside us. As soon as we set a shovel or rake down it was in their little hands. We finally purchased our kids their own set of garden tools and they loved digging in the dirt and “gardening” right along with us. You can find lots of cute garden sets made just for kids at your local hardware store, garden center or even online at Amazon.

11. Don’t forget the watering can!

Toddler is watering hosta plants with a green watering can.

Watering plants is also a highlight for little ones. Designating a watering can just for them, or purchasing a small one they can manage on their own, will make them feel like an important member of the gardening team. Just be prepared for the water to go everywhere!

How to create a kid friendly garden with cute stepping stones and garden beds.

I hope you enjoyed this fun roundup of creative ways to make a kid-friendly garden! You can find lots of cute garden tutorials on my site including how to make your own DIY garden art. 

Happy Crafting! -Kim

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