Sensory Garden Ideas for Children

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.

Want more sensory ideas? Be sure to check out our other fun sensory activities for kids!

Sensory Garden Ideas for Children - Gardening with Kids!

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 Mommy 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

giant sunflower

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.

Sensory Gardening Ideas

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.

Plant Family

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!

sensory garden

About Kelly

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.


This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by Mommy 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!

Sensory Summer: A Series of Summer Sensory Activities for Kids, Toddlers and Babies | Mommy Evolution


  1. Amazing post as ever. Thank you. Have pinned for us to do in the summer.

    1. Thanks! I really do love the sensory gardens. And my goodness how my kids love going to the larger botanic gardens and feeling all of the plants. The cacti are by far their favorites!

  2. I recently did a post on sensory activities for kids. This is awesome! Sensory play is so important for development. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – we love partying with you! Hope to see you next Friday. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  3. Wow this is such a great idea! So many kids would benefit from a sensory garden! Thanks for joining the Link-It To Me Link Party, I hope you will join us again this week! Pinning 🙂

  4. This is such an awesome idea! I love the plants and hope to make one with my boys in the coming weeks! Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Social!

    1. Really, you can’t help but love sensory gardens. My boys love going to our big botanic gardens and touching/smelling all of the different plants. They’re obsessed with the cacti!

  5. What wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing them at the #sundaysdownudner link up. I’ve pinned and shared your post.

    Best wishes from Down Under!
    Natasha in Oz

  6. I love these ideas!! My kiddos looove to get their hands dirty, so this is perfect! Thanks for linking up at the Tips and Tricks link Party!

  7. Hi Jennifer,

    I just wanted to let you know I’m featuring your post at my blog this weekend. I’ve tried to add you to my circles on G+ so I could tag you within the post but I must have been muted or blocked by you. I just wanted to let you know that you have been added to my Flipboard magazine.

    Take care and best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    1. I don’t block anyone on Google+ so I’m not sure why you would have difficulty tagging me. But I appreciate the feature and including me 😀

      1. I didn’t think so, Jenny, as I follow you on Twitter as well. I was really surprised that I couldn’t follow you on G+…so weird! I get the message ‘restricted’ so am totally bamboozled. Must be a Google+ bug. Have a great week.

  8. What a great idea! My kids would love the fairy house. Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend?!

  9. Great ideas!! Kids just don’t seem to get out enough anymore, so doing things like this could really help!! Wish they really had flowers with the rainbow colors! 🙂

    1. Why not turn it into a science experiment and do the carnation dye test where the flowers actually soak up the color into their petals? Could be fun while you’re waiting for your garden to grow!

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