May 20

Elements of a Child-Friendly Garden


There are many physical and mental health benefits to children in spending time outdoors.  One easy way to increase the amount of time your child spends outdoors is to make your garden an appealing outdoor play space.

What do children want in an outdoor play space?  Children prefer natural playspaces that have plenty of opportunities for exploration, challenge, interaction and learning.

There are many ways that you can add child-friendly elements to both big and small gardens.   Adding some of these elements to your garden will help make it a space where you child loves to be.

Add Water

It comes as no surprise to any parent that children love water and want to use it in their play.

  • the easiest way to add water in a garden is to create a fountain or water feature. This can be a beautiful bowl filled with water and coloured pebbles, a ready-made water feature or a water course complete with a waterfall.

Attract Birds and Animals

Children love to observe and interact with anything that moves. Attracting birds, insects and other animals to your garden will appeal to your child”s curiosity about the natural world. Planting trees and shrubs native to your area will help in attracting wildlife.  But you can also add some other features to make your garden even more attractive to wildlife …

Create Refuges

Children love cubbies and places to hide. Here are some ideas for adding refuges and places to rest or hide in your garden …

  • build a cubby house or fort
  • add a table and chairs in a quiet corner
  • use a tent or teepee to create a temporary refuge in your garden
  • create a secret path for walking or bike riding

Create Places for Play and Movement

Create places in your garden that let children use their different muscles – places to run, jump, climb or play with a ball.

  • find space for a sandpit.  Even a small container of sand will be a magnet for your children.
  • plant trees for climbing
  • create open grassy areas for running around and active games
  • landscape with rocks and logs for climbing and balancing
  • add loose parts – dirt, sand, sticks and stones – that can be moved and rebuilt in children’s construction and dramatic play

Introduce an Element of Immagination

Adding a few surprises to your garden can encourage your children’s creativity.

  • create a fairy garden, big or small, or a dinosaur garden
  • add art, for example sculptures or mosaics, to your garden
  • grow an unusual tree or plant

Add opportunities for learning

Much of children”s learning occurs through play.  Planning a few areas of the garden alongside your children can encourage them to look closely and develop their interest in the natural world.

  • plant an edible garden
  • create signposts for your plants
  • add a sundial
  • plant a perfume garden, full of plants that smell beautiful, or a touch garden, full of plants that are begging to be touched.

Try adding some of these elements to your garden to entice your children outdoors. It will benefit their physical development and encourage their understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Global Montessori specializes in early childhood education providing daycare, preschool and elementary programs and has been serving Langley, Brookswood, Cloverdale, Walnut Grove, Surrey, High Point and Morgan Creek for over 26 years.


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