Looking for some gift ideas for the young (or young at heart) gardeners in your lives, here a few ideas:
Watering Cans and Wheel Barrows
Appropriately sized tools are always important when working with youth in the garden, but if you really want them engaged and active, make sure they have a good watering can and wheelbarrow (or appropriately sized bucket if a wheelbarrow is too big to store for you). Watering is a favorite activity, but adult-sized watering cans are too heavy for most young children to manage and often result in too much watering getting dumped on the plant too. A small can is easier to handle. To ensure gentle watering, make sure to choose one with small holes on the spout to control water flow. Making collections (leaves, weeds, rocks, pinecones, etc.) is another great activity for kids in the garden and a wheelbarrow or bucket helps with transport and serves as a place to keep their treasures safe.
Although certainly not a requirement, raised beds are a great way to define space both in home and in school gardens. By having more control over the soil, you frequently have higher rates of success because of better drainage and fertility along with fewer weed and pest problems. Raised beds come in all shapes in sizes from cedar planks to recycled plastic. Although they require a little more investment on the front end, they more than make up for it by making gardening easier during the growing season.
Indoor worm bins allow you to compost kitchen scraps year round and kids love them. You can buy worm bin kits or make your own by drilling holes in medium-sized plastic containers. We just got our worm back up and running and it is like having a new pet (although so much less work than a puppy). For more information, check out our article on worm composting.
Children’s Garden Books
There are some amazing children’s books out there that focus on gardening topics. For toddlers, one of my favorite books is Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. My preschool-aged son could read the book What’s in the Garden? by Marianne Berkes on a regular loop. My new favorite book for elementary-aged children is A Place to Grow by Stephanie Bloom.
For additional book recommendations, check out The Growing Good Kids – Excellence in Children’s Literature Book Awards Program from the Junior Master Gardener Program and American Horticultural Society and also their best classic garden books list.
Since indoor gardening is in season right now, another creative gift idea is a make your own terrarium kit. You will need to provide a container, pea gravel, soil and plants. Since it is a gift, you might also want to add a little whimsy and throw in a miniature fairy or frog too. Click here for a suggested plant list and full planting instructions that can be printed and packaged with all the necessary supplies.
Consider wrapping up a bird feeder to give to your young gardener which will double as a gift for your local feathered friends. Feeding and watching the birds during the winter is another great seasonal activity to enjoy in your garden. Bird feeders come in a range of sizes and shapes, and you can even make your own.
Finally, if you are looking for a special gift for a garden educator in your life, don’t forget to check out our KidsGardening Books and Curricula. Your purchase not only provides a valuable resource for your local youth garden program, it also helps support our mission too!