Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden tools for children and toddlers reviewed: real child sized garden tool sets tested and reviewed

This article was last updated on November 21st, 2021 at 3:51 am

Introducing your kids to the joys of gardening is one of the best things we can do for our children. Not only will they learn how to grow and care for plants, but will also benefit greatly from being outdoors and away from TV or tablet screens, and of course get to spend quality time with you, their parents as well as teach kids gardening skills for the future. Real child sized garden tool sets can give them a real boost – a feeling of maturity, and having their own tools to help with their very first little vegetable patch. I do remember that feeling myself of planting quick growing salads 🙂 (as well as apple trees from seeds) and just look at how lovely these little sets are:

Little tikes growing garden – image credit Little Tikes 🙂

Getting young kids to take up gardening as a hobby, or even just letting them play along, growing vegetables and teach them to eat good food, mimicking you with their own set of tools, teaches hand eye co-ordination, responsibility and many other important life skills. It’s an excellent way to introduce them into sustainability, and being eco-friendly too, paving the way to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle as they grow which is big on the agenda right now..

We have been looking at the best garden tools for children. From fully plastic sets for very young kids, to more professional looking tools for children who are a bit older and can be trusted with them and if you’re still not sure our garden tools for children buyer’s guide will help.

Our pick for the best garden tools for children in the UK:

Best garden tool set for children: small foot 1710 Play tools garden and beach set in carry bag – ideal for kids aged 3 and up.
Runner up pick – ideal if top pick unavailable: Little Roots BGG1654 Kids Tool Kit Backpack
Best garden tool set for toddlers: deAO Pull along Kids Wagon Wheelbarrow and Gardening Tools Play Set
Most complete kids tool set: Born Toys Kids Gardening Set
Long garden tool set: Little Tikes 656446 Growing Garden Long Tools – ideal for kids aged 3-10
Best budget pick: Little Pals 7-LP381 Children’s Gardening Tools Kitsuper for kids aged 4-7 and the best budget pick for sure.
Best quality kids for tools: Spear and Jackson Traditional Children’s Trowel and Weed Fork Set – genuine real child sized garden tool set, just wonderful 🙂

Garden tools for children buyer’s guide

If it’s your first time buying garden tools for children, you will be forgiven for being a bit indecisive. After all, there are a few things to consider. For example, do you go with plastic or metal tools? Which tools make up the best sets? What tool set should I be considering for the ages of my child and how easily will they break it?

Here we try to help you find the answers to these questions with our buyer’s guide.

Age rating

Some tools are better designed for young toddlers such as the deAO garden tool set whereas something quality and well built like the Spear and Jackson is for older kids and you could easily give these to kids up to 11 and they won’t break them. Somewhere in the middle you have the small foot  which being so well built is a good all rounder for ages and the same applies to the Little Roots which works well for younger children but well built enough that they could dig hard and not break so pretty useful for older children too.

Plastic or metal?

As you’ve probably seen while browsing these products, most are either made from plastic, or a combination of wood and metal. So, which is better? To be honest, it’ll all depend on the age and maturity of your child. For kids under three, I would stick to plastic gardening tools as kids that young are prone to sticking things near their faces and falling onto things, and plastic is more likely to break before it causes any real harm. Older children will need to have metal headed tools, and the older the child, the stronger and sturdier the better as they will be using more force when playing with the tools and plastic ones, particularly thin plastic, will break easily:

Plastic kids gardening tools – won’t last long with older kids for sure.

Short or long handled?

Personally, I would go for a mix of the two ideally; for the long tools you would consider the Little Tikes for older kids or the Little Roots for younger. The shorter tools I have to recommend the small foot but again it comes down to the age of your child. Really young kids can have problems with long handled tools as their strength and co-ordination isn’t quite there yet, so it’s better to stick with short-handled tools until they are older. Here’s a look at the long tools:

Kids garden tools – long tool set

Which type of tools are the best for kids?

The great thing about young children is that they find pretty much everything fun and interesting to some degree, so the type of tools that are in a set won’t really matter unless they are getting a bit older. However, as a rule of thumb, a digging tool of some kind such as a spade or trowel, and a rake or fork should be included. Other things like a bucket, and watering can are also very likely to be played with a lot, so look for those.

Other things to look out for

No matter if you are buying plastic or wood and metal gardening tools for children, quality should always be something to check on before buying. Read through the comments sections to see customer feedback to get an idea of possible problems in this area, however don’t be put off by one negative comment in a sea of positive ones, as some people just have bad experiences. Then again, if there are a few comments complaining about the same thing, it might be worth taking it on board and looking elsewhere. Here’s an example of metal built tools with a nice wooden handle for kids:

Kids gardening tools and bag – well constructed – metal with wooden handles is always a good sign.

Other things to consider are extras in the sets such as gardening gloves and carry bags or backpacks. These actually do come in handy, and kids seem to love dressing up to do some gardening, so sets that include things like these will most probably be happily accepted by your kids. Again though, check that the carry bag, gloves, etc. are well made from durable materials before buying.

Below you will find our reviews of these products, so read on and find your own child’s very first set of gardening tools:

Our first review is of the Small Foot play tools garden and beach set, available for sensible money on Amazon at the moment. Kids love this set. My niece played with it all day without ever getting bored. Whether it was using the watering can/sprayer to give my thirsty plants a drink, or just raking soil into patterns for fun, she played constantly for hours.

The set comprises the aforementioned watering can with spray gun head, a mini rake, fork, and various shaped shovels/trowels. All together there are 6 kid’s gardening tools, and all are very small in size and perfect for 3-5 year olds.

The tools are made of wooden handles and metal heads, and do look like mini versions of real tools. In fact, they can be used for real gardening tasks, within reason, just as long as it’s not on very hard soil, they are still only kids toys after all, no matter how sturdy they feel.

Included in the set is a canvas carry bag, made of very tough fabric. I was actually impressed by the robustness of this bag, and thought it looked great. We had a few problems keeping the tools in the side pockets as they tended to fall out when the bag was moved around, but the inside of the bag is big enough to hold them all in without any problems anyway.
Of course, as the name implies, this children’s tool set also makes an amazing kit to take down to the beach and craft mind-blowing sandcastles. Well, unless your me, and then your pathetic efforts crumble into nothing after hours of hard work. Still, it is fun trying.

This tool set is well made, not overly expensive, and from what I’ve seen, very well received by children around the age of three to five. So, if your kids are about that age, you could do a lot worse than these tools.

The Little Tikes Growing Garden are a series of longer tools, aimed at a slightly wider age range of 3 to 11 years. Many of the reviews here are shorter so I wanted to add some balance and what better way than this newer offering from Little Tikes – I don’t normally include new products but Little Tikes are so reliable and the customer services second to none, I wanted to be in first with this recommendation :). You only have to look at the picture to realise just how lovely and cute this set is:

Little Tikes 656446 Growing Garden Long Tools – Spade

I know for a fact my daughter would love this. She often helps me in the garden weeding and planting – she doesn’t mind getting stuck in with the chickens in the chicken coop too – using her little kids garden basket to collect the eggs. And I’m sure much of that is down to the kids garden tool set that we started her off with so she had her own space…

This set will give exactly the same feeling in my opinion. The design print makes it still feel like enough of a toy but the at the same time as you can see from the set well up to the task of actually digging, and if not for the Spear and Jackson I would have names these top pick for the most real like for like tools when compared to the adult versions. You’ll have no problem weeding, ploughing, breaking up dirt, or even heavier tasks like digging with the spade – it’s robust enough for a child.

In terms of build quality the wooden handles are very strong and connected to steel head well. Being screwed means if a handle is broken it’ll be easily replaceable too (and helps adjustment based on your child’s age). If anything your biggest problem will be the print fading but that’s not exactly a problem. I’d be inclined to take the print fade as a sign the tool well received and used 🙂 Another issue is the print leans towards my daughter you’ll note – I am not too sure how well received the design would be by my 4 and 6 year old sons. I wouldn’t say these are ideal for toddlers, I would go for the deAO if I wanted a toddler gardeners set 🙂

Overall this is my new favourite garden tool set for kids with a long handle – I just don’t think you can go wrong.

Little Roots children’s gardening tools kit differs from our other featured tool kits in one major way. While all the others feature hand tools with short handles, this set has a mix of long and short-handled gardening tools to play with.

Long-handled tools in the set include a bow rake, leaf rake, hoe, and spade. Then there’s a short handle rake, trowel, and fork. This variety seems to give this kid’s set a more ‘grown up’ feel, despite the tools still only being kid’s size, and this certainly rings a bell with children within a wide age range.

Sturdily constructed of wood and metal, these Little Roots gardening tools will give kids older than 3, a completely usable set of tools of their own, and also a large backpack to carry them in. Featuring a drawstring to close up the top, the backpack is a neat way of keeping things stored away when not in use, and will avoid the tears that come with missing toys.

Little Roots have also thrown in a watering can and a pair of gardening gloves, but the gloves might be a little too big for children under the age of five. 

Everything is brightly coloured for your child’s enjoyment, but these tools aren’t just for show. They are very well built considering they are made for kids, and your budding little gardeners will be able to help out with some small tasks, making them feel all grown up, and teaching them about teamwork.

This would make a great first set of tools for any 4year old or above, or maybe a step up from plastic garden tools that your green-fingered youngster might already be using. Very well put together from strong materials, a good selection of tools both long and short-handled, and a nice backpack to carry them all in. Not bad for under 35 pounds, I say.

This 15-piece set offers your child a lot of variety, and includes plastic replicas of all sorts of common gardening items that they will have seen you using. These tools are very small, and being made out of plastic that isn’t the thickest, and also with blunt edges for safety reasons, they are not meant to be used for actual gardening. This set is more for toddlers who want to copy the actions of their mum or dad, grandmother or grandfather, and learn by playing.

Probably the most popular component of this gardening tool set for children, is the four wheeled ‘wheelbarrow,’ that your child can load up with their tools and pull or push around the garden. Both the barrow and the tools are brightly coloured so as to make them more attractive to kids.

This set is a good one to buy to teach the names of tools to your children in preparation for them being able to help out more when they get a little older. Included in the set are a leaf rake, hand rake, flat rake, watering can, water sprayer, a pick hoe, a trowel, a pair of hand pruners, 2 hand cultivators, four plant pots, and of course the wheelbarrow. That’s quite a lot of stuff for under twenty pounds (at the time of writing).

I really liked the fact there were plant pots included in the set, as it means your children can have a go at growing and caring for their very own plants and watch them grow.

For children aged between one and three, this is an extremely fun toy set to play with, but I think older kids would find everything too small and probably break some of it quite quickly with their rougher play. Really young children will absolutely love it.

deAO Pull along Kids Wagon Wheelbarrow and Gardening Tools Play Set

With the Born Toys kid’s gardening tools set, your child doesn’t just get to play the part of a professional gardener, they get to look the part too. Included in the well packaged set are a gardener’s hat, gloves and apron, as well as a sprayer and three hand tools. Both the hat and apron are of a good quality and about the right size to fit someone aged 5+.

For me, the real star of the show is the apron. It is not only made from thick and durable material, but also contains good sized pockets on the front to house all the tools and the gloves, with no way for them to fall out.

The free gardening gloves are one size fits all, and again are probably just the right size for kids between 5 and 7. The material is thick to protect your child’s hands, and the rubber grips on them will help to prevent accidentally dropping tools and pots.

A fork/rake, trowel, and a hand shovel, are the three main tools that come in the set. All are made from sturdy wooden handles with metal heads. The metal and the wood feel solid enough, but they are only held together by a single screw that I would personally swap out for a larger one if I was buying this for my child to use for real gardening tasks.

The tools are all nicely sized for smaller hands to hold and use comfortably, and not too heavy either. Apart from that small flaw, I can’t really fault the Born Toys gardening set. Everything is made from good materials, the price is reasonable, there is a good selection of items in the set, and the makers offer a money back guarantee. It is also a set that can be used by older children without it being broken within 5 minutes, and for that alone it gets a thumbs up from me.

Priced at under 20 pounds, this is a good option for those on a tighter budget but still want good quality. There are only two hand tools in this set: a trowel and a fork. However, they are very well made and surprisingly strong and robust for the price. Both the wood used for the handles, and the metal heads, feel substantial and doesn’t make you think they will break easily.

As well as the tools, there’s a metal bucket with a large wooden handle, and also 2 wooden plant markers. Never underestimate the fun that a child can have with just a bucket and spade/trowel and a pile of dirt. Likewise, never underestimate the mess they can make either! Seeing them happy is worth it though right?

The plant markers are actually a nice surprise. They are made of wood, and feature animal shaped tops. This set is available in either blue or pink, with the blue set having a hedgehog and tortoise shaped plant markers, and the pink one having a rabbit and butterfly. The markers are beautifully painted and the animals look very cute.

A canvas carry bag with transparent plastic pockets comes with the tools to help you keep everything together, and it too is stronger and better made than I would have expected for the low cost. Not only that, but Little Pals have thrown in a pair of gardening gloves too.

I would say this is a good starter kit for budding gardeners aged 4-7. As the tools have metal parts, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone younger than that.

Little Pals 7-LP381 Children's Gardening Tools Kit

So, your child has been playing with their plastic or blunt garden tools for a while now and they’re still interested in gardening. Maybe you think that it’s time to get them some ‘proper’ tools and set them some tasks in the garden to help you? If that sounds like you, then you could do a lot worse than take a look at these traditional gardening tools for children made by renowned brand Spear & Jackson and they are very nicely built – easily as good as the real garden trowel and fork sets.

Spear & Jackson have been making tools for over 250 years, so you could say they know a thing or two. In fact, I personally own a fair few of their tools myself. This small set includes a trowel and a weed fork, and are pretty much slightly scaled down versions of the ‘big boy’ tools that adults use, without scrimping on quality.

These tools are built to last through years of daily use. Featuring weatherproofed, hardwood handles, and mirror polished stainless-steel heads, you know you can rely on them.

The mirror polished steel isn’t just for looks, although it does look great, it actually serves two important purposes. Firstly, it reduces the amount of soil that sticks to the tool head, and secondly, it raises the tools resistance to rust, improving longevity and durability. For kids older than 5, who really want some quality tools of their own, this Spear & Jackson set is pretty hard to beat.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

View all posts by Terry Smith

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