When my kids first started gardening, they had to use my tools. We didn't have the extra money at the time. But they always asked, "When can I have my own spade?" "Can I have a tool belt too?"
The first thing I bought them was a spade (or trowel) and a rake. They asked what the rake was for. It's for raking leaves and such.The spade did wonders for their enthusiasm to help me.
Finding the right tools for kids can be a chore in itself. It seems the world of gardening is an adult world. You see big spades and big shovels and big this and big that. Can there be any smaller spades for smaller hands anywhere?
You can find toy versions of the tools, but these only last so long and do so much. They are great for a toddler who just wants to dig in the dirt or a smaller project such as inside gardening or a small container garden.
But for older kids, toys aren't going to cut it. Most tools can be used in their adult versions. I bought my oldest a separate spade, cultivator, hoe and garden rake. She now knows which are hers because she got to pick them out.
Make sure the tools fit their hands. Give them hands-on lessons on how to use each tool. You can even let them guess and decide which tool fits the problem or cause.
I had a problem with a weed I couldn't get with my current selection of tools. My daughter said, "Why don't you just use your hands, Mom?" So if for some reason you can't find the right tools for kids, let them use the tools they have: hands.
Dandelions are so much more than just your average weed.
Go on a nature walk with your child and help him or her gather different types and colors of leaves.