Have you ever invited a child outside to help you in the garden? They are naturally curious about the outdoors, and most kids jump at the chance to explore the landscape. That is why, whenever I get the chance, I invite my grandkids to come with me when I’m working outdoors.

However, if you are expecting them to unleash their curiosity on the plants in the garden, when there are rocks nearby, you are apt to be disappointed. Children tend to focus on the rocks scattered throughout the landscape rather than on the lovely, flowering plants nearby.

My grandson, Eric, took the water bowl from our desert tortoise, took my hand shovel and proceeded to fill it up with rocks. 

Several years ago, my granddaughter, Lily, went through the same stage – grabbing rocks and playing with them. That small pile of rocks kept her occupied for a long time while I was planting containers.

I believe that it is the texture of rocks and their weight that attract children. Of course, rocks also make noise when you fill up a metal bowl with them.  

Rocks come in all sizes, and big ones are perfect for climbing on.

The outdoor environment is filled with wonders that children are anxious to discover – including the discovery that water comes out of hoses.

*Do your kids play with rocks? What else do they like to play with outdoors?

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

3 replies
  1. Cheryl Ann
    Cheryl Ann says:

    Yes! Our granddaughter, who is almost 4, LOVES to play with rocks at daycare! And, her brother, who is 11 months, does too! My other grandson, who is 8, is a ROCK EXPERT, thanks to me! I live near the Whitewater Rock & Supply Company (right off Interstate 10) and I often go there and buy him a few rocks. He has QUITE an extensive rock collection!

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