Gardening Ideas for Kids with Sensory Issues

by Shoshana Newman, PT, Owner/Director Pediatric Potentials

Thanks to our friends at the Sensory Processing disorders Foundation for many of these great gardening ideas for kids, including kids with sensory issues.

Take your child to a garden shop and let them pick out some flowers/plants that they like. If they don’t like to get their hands dirty, you may want to buy a pair of gardening or rubber gloves for them. If they are under-responsive from a sensory standpoint, you have a great opportunity to explore the colors, smells, and feelings of the different flowers and plants.

Plant a few seeds, flowers, or small starter vegetables. Let them check on and water their plant(s) each day. Watch the magic of mother nature take hold and inspire your child.

For younger children, a fun exercise is to buy a “mystery plant” by hiding the tag. Let your child tend to the plant each day, and guess what plant is developing. They will love seeing how a seed grows into a string bean, carrot, eggplant or anything else!

Sensory-cravers will love the heavy work involved in gardening, like digging and moving materials, which can provide a calming sensation to their muscles and joints.

Encourage them to dig holes, shovel dirt into a wheel barrel, push it around and then empty the dirt and move the rocks. They can also unravel and pull the hose out, water with a watering can and pull weeds.

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