Garden Therapy For Children, Ways Gardening Helps Kids

Garden Therapy For Children

Garden Therapy for children is a powerful way to help kids dealing with trauma, behavioral issues, and physical and mental health. A horticulture therapist helps guide the children through gardening activities that can provide therapeutic benefits.

Powerpacplus’s Summary

  • Garden Therapy for children is an effective technique to assist children who are suffering with trauma, behavioral challenges, and physical and mental health concerns.
  • A horticultural therapist guides children with gardening activities that may be therapeutic.
  • Garden Therapy may take various forms, from a therapeutic garden design to a home food garden.
  • Garden Therapy Techniques for Children

What is Garden Therapy? 

Garden Therapy is a therapeutic and behavioral approach to improving mental and physical well-being. It is an occupational therapy that has been pioneered by Dr. Michael Gillette for children with autism. Garden Therapy can take many forms, from a healing garden design to a vegetable garden in your backyard. It is designed to improve the quality of life of those participating and promote positive emotions.

A therapist will guide participants through activities that share, develop, and improve skills that will encourage emotional, mental, and physical growth. The family can also participate in the activity to create a positive atmosphere and self-expression.

By cultivating plants and flowers, individuals will learn new skills while developing their own sense of self-awareness and increase their social interactions. This form of therapy is effective in helping people improve their overall well-being while promoting healthy family bonding experiences.

Types of Garden Therapy for Children 

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy is a form of therapy that uses plants and gardening to develop cognitive, physical, social, and emotional.

It gives an opportunity for people of all ages to interact with nature in meaningful ways. Horticultural therapists are trained professionals who use horticultural activities to reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and enhance the ability to cope with life issues.

Gardening ideas such as landscape design, container gardening, flower arranging and more are used in this type of therapy.

As a grant recipient, our horticultural therapists have access to the best resources and tools available for designing meaningful outdoor spaces for individuals or groups.  

Horticultural Therapy

Nature-Based Therapy 

Nature-Based Therapy is an excellent way to use the natural environment to reduce stress, increase cognitive and enhance self-esteem. The idea is to immerse oneself with nature while learning various gardening ideas through horticultural therapy.

By interacting with nature, one can gain a sense of peace and relaxation that can help bring balance back into their life. The Therapy Association offers a variety of courses ranging from 5-day mini courses to full grants for those looking for more opportunities in this field.

Community gardens are sprouting up all over the country, offering unique opportunities for people to get in contact us and learn more about Nature-Based Therapy.

Psychology Today even has articles discussing the benefits of Nature-Based Therapy as a great way to improve mental health

Nature-Based Therapy 

Sensory Garden Therapy

The idea of a sensory garden therapy is gaining popularity in the American community. Trainings and grants are being offered by the Therapy Association

According to Psychology Today, therapeutic horticulture and therapeutic gardening is a great way for people to benefit.

The founder of the Garden Play company, Tim Mathews, has been a recipient of multiple grants that have helped him create various community gardens for this purpose. He believes that these gardens can provide a healing atmosphere for people who need it and he has been able to bring this concept to many different places. 

Sensory garden therapy is becoming more widespread as an effective form of therapy and it is easy to see why with so many positive benefits from joining in a garden setting.

Ways Gardening helps kids

Reverses dependency
Choice is an important aspect of development—but when children are in the hospital, they have little or no choice. Garden Play reverses that, giving them multiple choices, along with the responsibility of caring for the plant.

“Giving them the chance to take care of them is a remarkable tool for health and growth,” says Robbi.

Stimulates the senses
Hospitals can be such sterile environments that allowing children to burrow and get “dirty” is a great change of pace. Working with the plants’ smells, their textures, and even the warmth of the PRO-MIX growing medium (a soil-free material approved by Infection Control) gives kids a multi-sensory experience to enjoy.

Provides fine motor coordination and light physical activity.
Working with plants provides fine motor coordination that doesn’t feel like traditional therapies – it’s just fun. And since Robbi’s program is structured in stations that the children can move between as they wish, they can become more active.

“Exercise — even something we don’t think much about, like holding up a watering can — is a big thing for someone who needs muscle movement,” says Robbi.

Offers a new hobby that can last a lifetime
For some children, horticultural therapy is their first experience with a live plant. Robbi hears from discharged patients who tell her how their plant is doing, send photos or inform her about the progeny of the original plant.

“Something as simple as transplanting into a larger pot is also representative of the child growing and thriving in a new place,” says Robbi. “The children create their own environment for the plant and let it grow. They do the magic.”


Children with autism should avoid large crowds, fluorescent lighting, strong smells and loud noises that can be overwhelming for them. Parents and teachers should engage children in activities that will help them learn to cope in these situations.

Families and staff can also help by providing resources such as herbs or therapies that may also help the child overcome their challenges. Giving the child a sense of ownership over their environment can be beneficial as it is documented since ancient times that interactions with animals like birds, butterflies and plants like seedlings have had positive effects on children’s development.

Implementing hands-on activities such as helping to register fruits and vegetables from the garden or going for walks in nature can give the child a sense of pride in themselves.

Gardening is an enjoyable activity that many of us just can’t seem to get enough of. Working in the garden is a great way to relax, connect with nature, and have fun at the same time. Plus, it’s an ideal way to improve your physical health without having to go to the gym.

Gardening also helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels while providing a sense of accomplishment once you see the fruits of your labor in bloom. It can also be a great hobby for those who have limited space or resources as it doesn’t require much equipment or money.

Furthermore, gardening can provide a calming escape from our hectic lives, providing us with a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.

The beauty and serenity associated with gardening makes it no wonder why so many of us love working in the garden.

We are grateful that you devoted your time to reading this post, and we hope it has been beneficial. If you have any questions or recommendations, please leave a comment here or visit for more information.

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