Educational Gardening Activities Engaging All the Senses

Gardening is a “sense-sational” way to engage children in outdoor learning and play. With their diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, scents, and textures, plants offer limitless options for designing a garden space to engage all the senses.

KidsGardening has teamed up with Little Seeds Kids to offer an activity kit full of ideas for starting a sensory garden. The eight-page, freely downloadable kit compiles sensory garden design tips and plant suggestions, along with an assortment of fun and engaging activities to try with young gardeners with or without a garden space.

The first sensory impression of a garden is sight. Plants are an especially rich source of variation in color, size, shape, and visual texture. Sunflowers and zinnia are examples of eye-pleasing flowers.

Including plants with a variety of scents, such as basil and chocolate cosmos, gives children the opportunity to explore the variety of fragrances plants offer.

“Hands-on” plants, such as celosia, strawflowers, and lamb’s ear, offer a surprising variety of textures and surfaces, some begging to be touched, others providing a more “pointed” experience.

Many culinary herbs are ideal “tasting” plants, as are the leaves and flowers of organic or garden-grown edible plants such as nasturtiums, pansies, and violets.

Listening closely, children will hear a symphony of sounds in the garden. Some can be startling, such as the thrumming of a hummingbird’s wings as it darts by, while others are insistent, such as the buzzing or droning sound of a cicada or cricket. And gourds and ornamental grasses bring their own sounds to the garden symphony.

The sensory gardening kit offers a wide assortment of fun and engaging activities to help children interact with and make sense of the world around them.

Plus: Together, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and KidsGardening designed the Lots of Compassion Grant to support local leaders looking to transform vacant lots into gardens to help grow compassion in their community. In 2024, ten grantees will receive $20,000 each to transform a vacant lot into a garden. A total of $200,000 will be awarded.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and KidsGardening share the belief that a garden has the power to do more than grow flowers and herbs; it can also grow people, communities, and even kindness. Whether your goal is to transform the vacant lot into a garden to host community events and create opportunities for mentorship, or to improve walkability and increase opportunities to be physically active, consider applying for the Lots of Compassion Grant. The application period is open until June 30.

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