Building a sensory garden can be extremely fulfilling for older kids, giving them a wonderful sensory outlet while connecting them to nature. And what fun for them to build on these sensory garden ideas to make one of their own.
Sensory Garden Ideas for Kids
For today’s sensory kids, gardening can be a source of numerous sensory stimuli, benefitting both sensory-seekers and sensory-avoiders. The plethora of plant varieties allows for every child to create an oasis that suits even the most peculiar sensory needs. Digging and shoveling though dirt, watering, pruning, fertilizing, bending and squatting, pushing and pulling. What a perfect sensory exercise!
Today’s post is from Kelly of Eating Off of Plastic. Kelly, who has Sensory Processing Disorder, has geared this activity towards older children, as you don’t often see many sensory activities for the 7-12 age group.
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by The Jenny Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer landing page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos! This post contains affiliate links.
Plants for Sensory Seekers
To begin a sensory garden, investigate which types of plants would be right for your child. Sensory-seekers might love large, fluffy flowers such as peonies. Roses are another soft variety of plants, but be careful of the thorns! Sunflowers are large and tall, basically skyscraper flowers for kids! Sensory-seekers will also enjoy plants that give off strong scents, specifically Lavender, Mint, Lilac, Basil, Gardenia, Sweet Pea, or Sweet Alyssum.
Plants for Sensory Avoiders
Sensory-avoiders, like myself, might prefer less intense plant varieties. Hibiscus or Dahlias are unscented while still being very colorful. Even better for sensory-sensitive kids are succulents. I’ve recently began to grow my own succulents in desperation for easy-to-grow, sensory-safe, but still awesome looking plants. Succulents never disappoint!
Creative Sensory Garden Ideas
Most varieties require little maintenance and can put up with a bit of rough-housing. Jade, Christmas Cactus (don’t worry, it’s not sharp!), African Violets and Bromeliads make great additions to a sensory garden.
If the plants aren’t being placed into the ground, select unique containers: rubbery rain boots, painted mason jars, old soda bottles, or empty cans make silly alternatives.
To spice things up even more, have your child decorate the planter or pot with paint, feathers, buttons, or glitter. Glue feathers to wooden skewers and stick them into the dirt, making it appear as though fluffy feathers are bursting out of the plant!
If you’re an oddball like me, you can give your plants actual names to enhance the merriment.
Finally, for an added twist, purchase a small wooden birdhouse (most are around $3-$5). Venture outside, explore and search for sticks, stones, bark, and leaves to glue to the birdhouse. With a little paint, your child now has a fairy house to include in the sensory garden.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love fairies? (Well, I suppose if your child dislikes fairies, pretend it’s the home of the Elf-On-The-Shelf’s distant cousin, Elf-In-A-Birdhouse.)
Best of all, with proper care, your child’s sensory garden will last until autumn; for succulents and other indoor plants, it’s a year-round activity.
Get sensory gardening!
Kelly Dillon is the author and illustrator of the blog, Eating Off Plastic. She is a twenty-four year old bookworm with Sensory Processing Disorder and some other neurological misfortunes.
SENSORY SUMMER SERIES
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by The Jenny Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer series page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos!