Digging in the dirt, smelling flowers, munching on a carrot, and observing a wiggly earthworm are just a few of the enticing activities that you can do in the garden.

Gardening is a wonderful activity that enhances a child’s skills across development.

Skills Gardening Targets

Fine Motor

Raking, digging, and pulling out veggies work on hand strength important for handwriting, holding utensils such as a toothbrush and spoon.

Sensory Input

Tolerating the textures of dirt, grass, flowers, different textures of plants, water flowers, veggies, bugs; and the heavy work of digging and watering the garden.

Gross Motor

Digging, motor planning body around flowers or veggies
Feeding: Talk about the vegetables you are planting, such as what they taste and feel like (e.g., Strawberries are sweet and bumpy). See “dirt cup” recipe below, too!


Use vocabulary such as “dig,” “pour,” “scoop” or prepositions such as “put the seed under the dirt” and “on top of the flower is a bee!”

Executive Functioning

Planning out the garden. Where will we plant the flowers and/or veggies and fruits?

Visual Motor

Locating the plants and flowers, directing where the plants and flowers are going

Activities To Do in the Garden

  • Planting flowers, fruits, and veggies
  • Create a Fairy Garden
  • Create a butterfly garden
  • How many bugs can you find?
  • Guessing games: Which veggie will be ready first? Which strawberry is sweeter?

Adaptive Gardening Tools

  • Elevated raised garden beds
  • Extendable Handle Cultivator
  • Easi Grip Tools

Carryover “Dirt Cups”

Carryover gardening into the kitchen! Make “dirt cups” with your kids- yum!

This recipe can easily be modified to accommodate allergies and ingredients you have in your house! Here is a link to an additional recipe (pictured above) with exact measurements. You can also make your own pudding with this one, as well as watch a video for your kids to follow, click here!

We can’t wait to hear all about your gardening experiences you participate in at home!

Written By: Ashley Verbick, COTA/L, Occupational Therapy and Tiffany Smith Tiffany Smith, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist