While kids can use regular garden tools, smaller equipment manufactured for children better suits their size and strength. Plastic, lightweight tools work for toddlers and younger children, and sturdy, heavier tools match the vigor of older children. When buying the following child-size gardening supplies, factor each child's age and ability into the purchasing decision.
Gardening Supplies for Kids
Children enjoy working in the garden; providing kids with gardening equipment built to accommodate their size removes the frustration and difficulty of using larger tools, which become obstacles to enjoying the activity.
While many more tools exist to expand an existing supply of garden tools, these 12 provide the basic equipment needed to enhance and expand a child's interest and ability in gardening.
1. Sun Hat
In addition to hats, sunscreen and sunglasses share importance as an essential gardening supply. This protection prevents sunburn, sunstroke, and other negative side effects from overexposure to the sun to which children are particularly susceptible. For maximum protection, choose hats with a wide brim or caps with a fabric flap that covers the neck.
Let kids employ creativity and individual style when choosing a sun hat: Some children prefer the romance of floppy, oversize hats with a chin bow, and some children enjoy playing the garden's scarecrow by wearing whimsical straw hats. Let children have fun with a plain canvas hat or old baseball cap and some fabric paint. Any hat that reduces direct sun exposure to the head works, so let kids find a hat that they want to wear rather than a hat that they have to wear.
2. Gardening Apron
Gardening includes one indisputable fact: When kids work with soil, messy clothing happens. While aprons lessen the amount of dirt ground into clothing, which appeals to parents, kids find convenience and practicality in pocketed gardening aprons.
Pocket aprons let kids carry small items without overloading their hands. Little tools, seeds, and water bottles stored in the pocket move easily from one gardening task to another; in some cases, the pocket provides housing or a method of transport for dug-up worms.
3. Gardening Gloves
Little hands digging in, sifting through, and playing with soil and garden plots regularly encounter thorns, thistles, and other items that poke. When kids garden, protect their hands with gardening gloves. Depending upon the glove, some dirt still gets through the material, but parents find cleaning hands and removing dirt from beneath fingernails an easier task when children wear gloves than when they garden with bare hands.
In addition to protection, gloves make gardening more enjoyable for children who are squeamish at the thought of touching insects, worms, or soil. Gloves also provide a barrier for children with sensitivity to feeling certain textures.
4. Rubber Boots
After rainfall and garden watering sessions, rubber boots give kids the opportunity to continue their gardening experience while reducing post-gardening clean up. Adding kids, soil, and water together equals messy feet; however, as with gloves, it is easier to clean rubber boots than to clean mud tracked through the home.
Color and style play secondary roles to a pair of boots' main purpose of keeping feet and floors clean, so any pair will suffice.
5. Watering Can
Water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon, and an average watering can holds 2.3 gallons of water. This means that an average can holds slightly more than 19 pounds of water. Even partially full, the weight exceeds most children's lifting strength, but, not understanding their limitations, many children still attempt to carry it. Prevent strained or pulled muscles and overexertion with child-size watering cans.
Lighter and better fitted for small hands than an adult's watering can, child-size cans make it easier for children to water plants, are less awkward to hold, and eliminate lifting strains; additionally, the frustration of water spilled when carrying the watering can to the plants rarely occurs.
These smaller cans come in a large range of bright colors that make the containers easy to find in foliage and grass.
As with watering cans, regular wheelbarrows pose the risk of children hurting themselves through overexertion; wheelbarrows present a heavy weight, even when empty. Children find large wheelbarrows cumbersome to move, and young children do not have the height needed to lift most styles of wheelbarrows.
With this smaller garden tool, kids feel they are contributing to garden work with the ability to transport soil, compost, and plants around the garden. Certainly, the lower height allows kids ease in shoveling material into or out of the body of a child-size wheelbarrow.
7. Rake, Shovel, and Hoe Set
Give children a solid gardening start by teaching them the various uses of each gardening tool.
Rake: Teach children how to level soil with a rake, use both ends to create garden rows for planting, and rake up fallen leaves and yard debris when the garden season ends.
Shovel: Show children how to turn soil and dig holes before planting and how to dig up strong weeds with a shovel. With child-size shovels, they can transfer soil and compost from their wheelbarrow to the garden.
Hoe: Instruct children on the proper use of a hoe in smashing clumps of soil, removing weeds from between rows as plants grow, chopping weeds into small bits, and pulling the hoe to create trenches larger than a rake makes. Older children can learn how to move soil in amounts small enough to create hills for corn and potatoes.
Suppliers sell these garden supplies for kids individually and in sets.
8. Hand Tools
Hand tools let kids get closer to the soil and gives them a close-up of plants' growth. With small tools in their hands, kids become quickly adept at properly using each tool.
Generally sold in sets, a hand tool collection comes with a wide hand shovel, hand rake, and narrow hand spade. The shovel and spade better suit filling buckets than moving soil from a wheelbarrow or soil pile to the garden, but kids can use the tools in the manner intended for the longer versions. Actually, some children find greater leverage and the ability to work on their knees to be easier than using long garden tools.
9. See-Through Composter
See-through composters present the opportunity to learn about a distinct aspect of gardening. These small composters have three separated sections for children to compare and contrast the decomposition of different materials. Clear sides enable children to watch the process from start to finish.
This type of composter does not generate a large quantity of compost, so gardens may also require a regular, larger composter.
10. Garden Sign
If they have their own little garden plot or section of a large garden to tend, supply kids with a sign that designates it as their own. Garden signs need not be ornate. A simple piece of wood on which they can paint their name and decorate with pictures of animals, flowers, insects, or any design they fancy highlights their garden.
Although the work often remains unseen, bugs play an essential and integral role in gardening, and children can see the results. Let children discover the bugs that congregate near different plants, question why each bug has a preferred area of the garden, and examine what a bug does if it finds itself transplanted to a different section of the garden.
Children who feel afraid of bugs in the garden often find their curiosity piqued if they can view bugs that are contained behind glass. Bug catching and collecting kits provide these children with the opportunity to become familiar with the bugs found in their garden without shying away. Hopefully, the result of interacting with bugs in this manner is confidence to work in the soil and with plants.
12. Personal Plants
The personal satisfaction children find from nurturing their gardens grows larger yet when they grow plants from seeds, place the seedlings in the ground, and see their work transform into flowers or food as the gardening season progresses. Use seed starting kits or sprout a bean in a plastic bag, transfer it to a small container until planting time, and place the plant in the garden.
Finding 12 Must-Have Gardening Tools for Kids on eBay
Whether looking for gifts or starting young gardeners with tools to instill a joy of gardening, find these 12 must-have gardening supplies at eBay by entering individual tool names into eBay's search engine. Alternatively, browse a larger selection of gardening supplies with the navigation bar on the home page; from the Home, Outdoors & Décor tab, choose from the Toys & Hobbies selection or the Home & Garden selection.
Manufacturers create gardening supplies for kids in a large variety of colors, styles, and patterns, and some items are fashioned after popular cartoon characters. Shop around to find the supplies that appeal to the taste of individual children and to find the lowest price for each tool. Keeping children's physical growth in mind, kids' garden tools will remain a useful size through many gardening seasons.