The Toy Box


Call It Gardening Or Call It Fun

Getting Down And Dirty With Kids

Kidsat least most of themlove to get dirty. Parents? Not so much. But there is one activity that bridges that gap in a completely natural way, and that’s gardening. Whether gardening is your passion or you think of it as a necessary evil, doing it with kids can make it more enjoyable. Even kids who don’t like to get dirty can put on gardening gloves (princess ones work well) to join in the fun.

Whether they work alongside you, or in their own small garden plot, kid-sized wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, and gloves make the job easier. Small, but just like the real thing, they allow kids to be autonomous, productive, and to feel like they are truly participating. All good things!

You can help further their interest in growing things, with the Plant Science Kit from Thames and Kosmos.

A fully illustrated sixteen-page guide book, written especially for young scientists, will teach them how plants germinate from seeds, how they grow, what they need to grow, what they produce, and how their roots, stems, and leaves work. Great for ages five and up.

Along the way, while planting, weeding, or just digging, your child may discover the occasional worm or beetle. This is a great opportunity to encourage your child’s natural curiosity and start to explore the world of nature. 

Take their intrinsic curiosity a step further, with the Nature Bag.


Created by a couple of Canadian Moms, the Nature Baga lovely organic cotton shoulder bagis filled with a slew of eco-friendly items, designed to help children explore nature through a variety of sensory activities. Suggested activities are simple, engaging, and imaginative. Maybe just the thing you need to entice your kids into exploring nature, in your own backyard and beyond.

Of course, if your kids have no interest in gardening, you can still get them outside while you garden, with fun backyard toys like the Jungle Croquet Set from Alex, or burn off some energy with a Jump Rocket for big kids and the Rocket Zoomer for smaller ones. All great backyard fun!

Drop by your nearest neighbourhood toy store, where you will find a full complement of gardening and outdoor fun stuff to help you get down and dirty with your kids.


Judi Meade is the owner of Art-enfant in Westmount (Montreal), a member of Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) and the co-owner of Her stores are a destination for families looking for unique and fun playthings that sneak a little learning in on unsuspecting kids. She blogs about toys, children’s play, and all things related at Toying Around.