Again, if you have the space make sure you take the time to plan out seating for your garden. Just having a place outside to sit to do activities and admire your hard work will do wonders.
Also remember that not all kids are the same, some of them will not like getting all dirty and enjoy these activities while some might wish they were getting dirtier.
A good activity to do with kids who are less prone to make mud pies is to do garden planning. Spend the day going around to different gardens, farmer’s markets, and even stores like Home Depot to get some ideas of what you will want in your garden. They can make a list or take photos (disposable cameras probably the best idea). Once you have items listed that your child wants start planning.
Making decorations for in the garden is another activity that doesn’t actually require getting dirty. You can make everything from painted rocks, to labels, to fairy houses. Here are some really ideas for fairy homes that your child can make:
Also some ideas for the boys:
I actually think my little girl would love that dino garden…
Anyhoo let’s get dirty-
Obviously letting your kids plant their own seeds and plants is the best way to get them involved. There are some really cute tools out there designed just for kids or just let them bare hand it.
Getting outside in the garden when it’s raining is always fun for kids (obviously not when there’s a tsunami but you know…). Here you can see some ideas I compiled for outdoor rain activities.
If it’s not raining go out into the garden and find a spot that the kids can play in the dirt without disturbing any plants. Bury a few items in there. You can make this game a lot of ways- who left it there? Is that a list left of the items? Is it treasure? Does it have markings of some kind? I couldn’t find any links with some more ideas that go with this but I think you can come up with some cool ones (post below if you do).
Speaking of digging there’s always the ever fun and ever popular digging for worms! Yeah I know but they are really cool animals if you think about it. They breathe through their skin and some species of earthworms can grow up to ten feet!
How about (for a little older kids) letting them pick out things from the garden to build their own terrarium for their room or to display in the living room. Here’s a great post about doing this with kids:
There are always backyard games that can enjoyed along side your beautiful garden. This site has quite a few ideas, some I hadn’t seen until stumbling across it.
For little ones consider adding a sandbox or a rock box to your backyard garden. There are pluses to both so do a little research to see which you would prefer having.
For teens getting them involved in all the nitty gritty parts of gardening is a plus. Also I think showing them the payoff of the hard work is even better. If you’re growing anything edible let your teen come up with new dinners to try with the ingredients. If you’re growing flowers let your teen make something that they can give to their grandparents or to the local nursing homes. I know charity isn’t everyone’s thing but most middle school and teenagers react well to making others happy.