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Build a Toddler Play Garden!

Logan is almost a year-and-a-half old! Time really goes by so fast! I remember this time last year he was just starting to roll over and eat solid foods. Now he is running around, exploring his world, and trying to imitate the actions of the grown-ups around him. The good news here is that he can help me put away the tupperware, the bad news is that his “help” in the garden has gone poorly for some unfortunate leeks and kale seedlings.

I’m so glad that my son loves being outside with me while I am working in the garden. I want him to learn through play, but as the weeding season begins, I am worried about demonstrating “pull out the plants” to an undiscriminating little sponge. Next year I am planning on making a garden bed just for him. I’ll let him pick out seeds, plant them and watch them grow, but this year he is still a little young for that. The solution: a play garden! 

I would love to take credit for this idea, but a good friend sent me the link to this blog post, and I went out that very afternoon and built Logan his very own corner of the yard. Most of the components I had lying around the house, so I think it came in under $20. That’s a whole lot better than a manufactured playset that he will use for about a week and then get bored with. The play garden will grow with him as he gets interested in planting. It fosters creativity and imaginative play, and it keeps him out of Momma’s garden (in theory anyway, we are working on it!) Here’s how I did it!

The Supplies:

  • Landscape Fabric
  • Fencing Material (stumps, bricks, cinder blocks, or traditional fencing)
  • an old Tire
  • Playground Chips or Mulch
  • Organic Garden Soil
  • Rocks
  • Tools (hand tools, children’s garden set, flower pots, or bucket and shovel from your last trip to the beach)
  • Anything else that sounds fun!

Note: be sure the soil you use is organic since a lot of commercial soils include chemical fertilizers.

Directions:

1. Pick out an out of the way part of the yard, preferably in a spot that gets some shade.

2. Lay down your landscape fabric, being sure to overlap the edges.

3. Add your “fence” and trim away any excess fabric.

4. Fill an old tire with organic soil for an easy raised bed. My helper couldn’t wait to empty all that dirt out!

5. Spread mulch or cedar chips around the inside of the garden, add some tools and rocks to play with, and you’re done!

Logan still likes to come see what Mom’s doing and try to help so we say “no-no” and gently lead him back to his garden. I think he is starting to get the idea. He seems to really love playing in there!

2 thoughts on “Build a Toddler Play Garden!”

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