Kid-Friendly Gardening Tools (That Aren’t Toys)

The best way to become a lifelong gardener and nature lover is to start early—and like most things in life, having the proper tools for the job makes things a whole lot easier. Much like the importance of a sharp knife in the kitchen, a good garden tool can make the difference between seeing work in the garden as a chore and a joy to be treasured.

Real tools for smaller hands

Very young kids can get familiar with the names, purposes, and shapes of tools with toy versions in a sandbox, but once they’re ready to lend a hand, it’s worth investing in durable tools that are made for small hands. 

Kid-sized rakes, shovels, hand forks, and trowels will invite kids ready to do some real digging into the gardening community. Blades made with hand forged steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel are the most reliable and will last a long time. Look for wood-handled tools that fit comfortably in your little gardener’s hands. Avoid tools that have loose or weak joints that can bend or break easily. Respected brands like DeWit Tools and Garrett Wade Tools offer junior-sized versions of their tools, and Montessori shops are a great resource for real tools for smaller gardeners (like this excellent wheelbarrow).  

Teachable tip: You wouldn’t cook with a dirty knife, so help kids develop the habit of washing off caked on dirt from garden tools once a week and show older kids how to brush off rust with a wire brush or steel wool.

Other handy handhelds

Beyond the basics, other small garden tools like herb trimming scissors, a watering wand attachment for the hose, or a fun watering can (we love this one from Melissa & Doug) offer even more ways for kids to lend a hand. Science-minded kids might enjoy learning how to use a hand-held Soil Moisture Sensor to help prevent over- and under-watering. 

Outfit for the elements

A good pair of gloves is a vital tool for kids who don’t like to get their hands dirty (if you know, you know)  and an apron is always a good bet for messy fun in the garden. Sensitive little scalps and ears need sun protection—so add a sun hat with a UPF rating to the gardening tote to keep their head and neck safe in all seasons.

We’d love to see your kids in the garden! Tag us in your photos on Instagram and we may share them in our feed or newsletters.

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