The Best Gardening Books for Preschoolers, Toddlers & Up: 32 Garden, Butterfly, Bee and Bug Books to Get Your Toddler Excited about Gardening!
Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to spend your days outside in the backyard. We love playing in the sandbox, using water toys on hot days, climbing, riding on a toy or tricycle, or hitting the swing, but one of our favorite outside activities is getting down and dirty in the garden!
Since getting a gardening set for our toddler, she loves helping us with all sorts of activities in the garden – especially when it comes to watering the plants, and pruning hedges (she is responsible for throwing trimmed hedge pieces into a pile of clippings!). You don’t need a lot of outdoor space, and you can even do it with no outdoor space with a hyrdroponics kit, which lets you grow veggies, herbs, etc indoors!
It’s great for her motor skills development, and encourages her curiosity about the natural world and healthy eating (since we grow some berries and veggies, too!).
We figured we’d double down on her interest in gardening, and stock up on some children’s gardening books to encourage her further.
If you’re ready to transform your little ones or preschoolers into a child gardener, pick up a few of these books to get them excited!
32 Gardening Books Toddlers and Preschoolers Will Love
Click on any of the gardening books below, and it will take you straight to Amazon to learn more. Or scroll further down to read my summary of each of the best childrens gardening books.
The Best Gardening Books for Kids
Planting a Rainbow
Probably one of the most well-known gardening books for kids. Author Lois Ehlert offers a beautiful depiction of a garden’s growth from beginning to end, and follows actual species of flowers as they transform from bulb or seed to flower. As the garden grows, a rainbow of colorful blooms appears, with pictures of different species and colors identified for extra curious kids. Planting a Rainbow is great for preschoolers to early grade school.
The Tiny Seed
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle, this book follows the harrowing journey that seeds make when they’re swept away by the wind in the fall. It’s full of classic Eric Carle illustrations (similar to the Hungry Caterpillar) and accurately demonstrates the interesting life-cycle of plants. This book is great for older preschoolers and up, as the story is too complicated for most toddlers to sit through.
We Are the Gardeners
In this book, author Joanna Gaines takes your little one on the journey of her own little family as they learned to garden together. It’s a story as much about resilience and trying again after failure as it is about gardening itself, carrying a lovely message of perseverance with it. Starting with their first potted plant (and killing it by overwatering it), this book is all about overcoming obstacles and the rewards that come with doing so. Good for kids aged 4 to 8, with beautiful gardening illustrations throughout.
Full of beautiful and whimsical illustrations, this book follows a buzzing bee through a summery pasture. Your little one will find their sense of wonder and simultaneously learn a few things about the life and importance of bees. Short sentences and lots of rhymes make this a good choice for little ones who love gardening. My toddler daughter loves bumblebees, as I expect many toddlers do!
The Little Gardener
This adorable book is full of colorful pictures and lift-flaps, making it interactive and engaging. It does a great job describing in simple language the work it takes to be a little gardener. This is a great book for older babies and toddlers, as it has lots of relevant gardening vocabulary, along with the fun lift the flaps!
I Can Grow a Flower
In this book, your kiddo will witness the entire life cycle of a sunflower with illustrations, pictures and interactive flaps. As a bonus, there is a pull-out height chart in the back so you can measure how tall both the sunflower and your little one can grow. Good for around 3 and up, although many younger ones will enjoy looking at the pictures and learning gardening vocabulary and names for things.
Lola Plants a Garden
Follow Lola on her voyage to discover what it takes to plant her own flower garden. It all starts with her mom in the library and ends with a beautiful patch of sunflowers that Lola shares with her friends, with a lot of patience in between. This is a lovely read-aloud book, notable as well because it offers some racial diversity among Lola and her friends.
My Growing Garden Flip-a-Flap
Great for encouraging simple cognitive development, this sweet book is full of colors, shapes and patterns. It has a handy built-in handle and fun fold-down flaps to keep even the littlest readers engaged.
From the Garden
This book makes counting fun and highlights the importance of growing your own food. Your kiddo will love counting the harvested yummies and finding the numbers that are hiding on each page to promote number recognition. A fun gardening book that doubles as a counting book, going from 1 to 12!
In the Garden
Inspire your kiddos to play in the dirt with this charming story of one little boy with a lot of patience. The charming illustrations depict his journey from digging to planting and all the way to harvest. You can follow this book up with In the Woods by the same author!
Lets Grow Vegetables
This fun and interactive book features a convenient handle top and 11 different movable parts to keep your little one interested and promote fine motor skills. It takes them through the motions of growing and gardening and encourages healthy, natural eating habits. Good for older toddlers, as it’s a bit too complicated for young ones. That said, kids 2 and up would probably enjoy learning some of the vocabulary.
The Carrot Seed
Much to the surprise of some doubtful onlookers, a small boy manages to plant a carrot seed and nurture it to life in this sweet board book. It’s a simple and nice story about the power of patience and endurance – even in the face of doubt from those closest to you. This story comes in a board book and is simple to understand, making it a nice gardening book for younger children.
In this story, a father and his daughter plan a beautiful flower garden for a window box. The best part is that the whole process, from start to finish, is lovingly done as a gift for her mother. This story is sweet, with beautiful illustrations and racial diversity among the people throughout. It has nice rhymes as well, lending it to younger and older kids alike.
Growing Vegetable Soup
Another winner from Lois Ehlert. This is a sweet example of the farm to table concept. A father and child in this book decide to start a garden. And after some hard work and patience, the end result gets transformed into a satisfying bowl of vegetable soup. The illustrations are similar to Growing a Rainbow, so if your kiddo likes one of the two, it’s a good bet they’ll like the other one, too.
The Surprise Garden
The mystery of this book will keep your little ones hooked until the very end. It is about three little gardeners who plant some unmarked seeds and then wait with anticipation to see what becomes of them. This one goes along with the farm to table concept of Growing Vegetable Soup, making them a nice pair!
Inch by Inch: The Garden Song
This book celebrates Earth Day with a classic and catchy song about planting and growing. A sweet kiddo and his dog play it out and there is even sheet music included for parents who are music savvy and want to accompany their little ones on a piano or guitar. If you’re not musically inclined, you can always harness the power of Youtube.
From Seed to Plant
Gail Gibbons makes learning fun with beautiful and simple illustrations that show both the seed and the finished product of a multitude of plants. She even simply explains pollination, germination and the specific parts of a plant for a true lesson in botany for your kiddo. This is a great book to incorporate into STEM learning for your little one, while still focusing on gardening!
A Seed is Sleepy
Illustrated by award-winning artist, Sylvia Long, this book is an elegant and beautiful depiction of seeds. It shows an array of different and interesting types and describes them in detail with simple and poetic words. Definitely suited more to kindergarteners and school aged kids than toddlers, as it’s quite detailed.
Butterflies in the Garden
Highlighting all kinds of different butterfly species, this book is full of bright and accurate illustrations as well as interesting facts about a butterfly’s life cycle and how to attract them to your garden. A great addition to most other gardening books, which focus on what’s in the soil.
Written in a simple rhyme, this is a story of a young boy who lovingly cares for his little garden from start to finish. It ends up full of sunflowers and allows him to create his very own imaginative sanctuary in the form of a sunflower fort. And when summer ends and the sunflowers turn brown and wild, he realizes that when something ends, something else can begin again anew.
Peep Inside: The Garden
This book is full of interactive features for sensory development. It has fun cutouts and exciting flaps that your little one can lift to peep at some unexpected things from the outdoor world. Definitely suited towards the toddler to pre-K set, as older kids might find this a bit too simple.
How Do Flowers Grow?
Educational but not overwhelming, this book is one of a series and is full of active and engaging illustrations, as well as lift-flaps that your kiddo can lift to discover more facts about flowers and their growing process. This book is well-focused on the topic, and suitable for preschoolers and up.
What Will Grow?
The anticipation of waiting to see what will grow will keep your little one hooked and engaged in this story. It is beautifully and elegantly illustrated and discusses a huge variety of seeds and their potential results. A great vocab builder for toddlers, and a fun question and answer format for little ones.
Busy Bug Book
For all the bug-loving kiddos out there, this book is an adorable story featuring a toy ladybug that your little one can actually wind up and watch travel across the garden illustrated on the pages. Part toy, part book, but guaranteed fun!
Little Yellow Bee
A chunky board book that is perfect for the tiniest hands, this book follows a friendly little bee around to meet all of his garden friends. Each one is hiding under a flap for interactive fun and fine motor development. Lots of garden related vocab in this one, good for toddlers and preschoolers.
Tokyo Digs a Garden
This is an exciting story involving a little boy who lives in a concrete jungle and some magic seeds. What they become completely alters his world as he knows it. But is it for the better this way? Complicated enough that it’s more suited to school aged kids.
The Curious Garden
A great tool for teaching your kiddo about the environment, this story follows little Liam as he transforms a bleak world into a lush and green one, one garden at a time.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
Written with beautifully poetic language and whimsically illustrated, this book gives your kiddos a peek deep into the mysterious world of their garden, from under the dirt with all of its creatures to up on the surface.
If You Plant a Seed
Filled with eye-catching oil-painting illustrations and light text, this book compares planting various seeds and seeing what will grow to planting seeds of kindness and witnessing the results. It is a beautiful analogy and a perfect way to explain kindness to your kiddos.
Little Kiko tends lovingly to her garden and also to herself in this sweet book about positivity. It demonstrates psychological tools in simple language that your little ones can use to cultivate happiness in their own minds.
Two Little Gardeners
Depicting the friendship and teamwork that makes siblings so special, this story follows a brother and sister who work hard together and show a lot of patience. The end result is a satisfying and bountiful garden.
What are your favorite children’s gardening books? Did I miss any?