Do you have a green thumb (or wish you had one)? Whether or not you’re a gardening pro, you can still get out with your child and grow something beautiful.
Gardening may seem challenging, but it’s not as hard as it seems. And you don’t have to fall down the rabbit hole of gardening blogs and videos to get started — we’re here to walk you and your child through starting your very own slice of green.
Spring is a great time to cultivate your green thumb! And it’s even better when you do it when your child. Gardening teaches your child skills that aid in their development while sharing memories that’ll last a lifetime. It also teaches them about patience — and we know children can definitely use some of that.
In this beautiful springtime, teach them (and yourself) how to grow plants and food. Whether you have a large yard or just a windowsill, you can enjoy this great family activity!
Prepping for Gardening With Your Kids
Establishing a gardening routine with your kids will help them pick it up quickly. It may even foster a love for a new hobby as they grow. The benefits of gardening for children are extensive.
Hands-on gardening activities have been shown to help kids focus and score higher on tests. Gardening has even been shown to enhance confidence.
Here’s how to prep for a season of gardening with your child — growing flowers, vegetables, and a more confident kiddo.
Have Your Child Choose the Seeds
Invite your child to join in the planning process. This will help them feel more interested and excited about gardening. Have them choose their favorite plants and foods as you look through seed catalogs together. Kids are most likely to select plants, fruits, and veggies they recognize.
If you don’t want to overwhelm them with the massive variety from a catalog, you can always offer certain plants and foods you’re interested in planting. Then have your child choose a few from your collection. This ensures you’re both involved in the planning process. Or visit a local shop that has a smaller collection in stock.
For younger children, consider choosing plants that grow quickly to keep your child’s attention, like:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
Bonus — children will be more excited to try something they’ve grown on their own. So, if you have a picky eater, this might just be the solution. ;)
“Just Right” Tools
As a gardener, you need the right set of tools. The same goes for your child! If they have to share your tools, one of you will have to wait for the other to complete a task rather than both of you working together. Your tools may also be too big for them, which can cause mistakes and give them a hard time.
Kids love to dress up — even better if they can dress up like Mommy or Daddy. They’ll be more excited about the gardening process if they have their own real tools that look just like yours.
You want to make sure your child has their own:
- Watering can
- Rake, fork, or spade
- A box or bag for their tools
There are many gardening tools for children — some even include a tote bag. Shop around to find the right set for your child.
Build up the Excitement
Help build the excitement for gardening (especially if some of your materials are being shipped) by crafting with your child. Your child can use wax sticks to create 3D plants and veggies. They can also use the wax sticks to create 2D identifiers for the foods they’ll be planting. For instance, once they finish crafting their 2D carrot, they can place it on or in the planter they’ll use for their carrots
And every garden needs a gnome! You can create cute little gnomes for your family garden (whether indoors or outdoors) with our Shrink Art Craft Kit. If you’re creating an indoor garden on a windowsill, consider crafting miniature creations with your child. Or go big with your art if you're making an outdoor garden. You can also buy some clay and paint to create bigger gnomes and fairy garden crafts — just follow the instructions here and add a little art to your garden.
Outdoor Gardening Activities for Kids
Having the space to create an outside garden is a great way to get your child outdoors. Your child can get exercise and vitamin D from the sun while learning how to plant and grow their own food. Here’s how to begin creating memories with your family by gardening outdoors.
Give Them Their Own Plot
If you have ample space for planting, consider giving your child a small plot to play with and plant whatever they see fit. By giving them this independence, they’ll gain confidence and look forward to gardening. If you’re not ready to provide them with an entire plot, that’s totally understandable — a pot or a small planter box that’s just for them is great too.
Give Them a Task
Children love to help out as much as they can. It helps them feel needed and like an important part of the family.
Figure out which job they love the most when gardening and make give them that task. Watering is a great activity for children — cause what’s more fun than dirt for children? Water. But they can also help plant the seeds or fill the pots or raised beds with dirt. By having a set task, your child can establish a routine, helping them become more focused and responsible.
Indoor Gardening Activities for Kids
If you can’t make an outdoor garden, no worries because the fun can happen indoors too! You can create beds of plants in your home, or try smaller beds that fit perfectly on a windowsill. Here’s how to get started on your indoor garden today.
Use Your Egg Cartons
Don’t throw away your egg cartons! You can use them to plant seeds with your child. Cut out pictures (or create them with the wax sticks) to match them with the seeds they’ll grow in the egg carton. You’ll need a picture for each egg carton cup.
Use scissors to create drainage holes in the bottom of the egg carton. Once all slots have drainage holes, fill the egg carton with soil. Plant the seeds according to the instructions on their bags. Then place the egg carton on a tray to avoid creating a mess. Now, you can place it on your windowsill and wait for the seeds to sprout.
Reuse Kitchen Scraps
Keep those scallion butts and reuse them to grow your own vegetable garden at home. With a few jars and leftover scraps, you can create an extensive at-home vegetable aisle! This will pique your child’s interest in gardening, show them where food comes from, and intrigue them enough to actually eat something green.
Here’s a list of fruits and veggies you can reuse and grow from scraps:
- Sweet potatoes
- Carrot or beet greens
To learn how to reuse kitchen scraps, follow these easy instructions here.
Make a Terrarium
A terrarium is very much like an aquarium, but for plants instead of fish. This learning activity is great for older kids. They can create a whole, beautiful ecosystem in a goldfish bowl for their windowsill or dresser.
Help your child choose plants that grow well together. For example, a fern and a cactus shouldn't live with each other because the fern requires a lot of moisture, whereas the cactus doesn't.
To help your child build their terrarium, you’ll need:
- A goldfish jar — or any clear jar of their choice
- Rocks — size is dependent on the jar
For more details on making a terrarium, you can follow NASA’s instructions here.
Give Plants Extra Color
Bring in more crafting activities for kids to add extra fun to their gardening adventure. You can add extra color to their room by placing SunGemmers on their windows. SunGemmers is the perfect suncatcher kit your child can do independently, or work on them together as a family.
SunGemmers are a great way to catch the sun’s rays, bringing them into your home in a rainbow of lights. Once your child is done crafting their suncatcher, they can stick it to their favorite window right above their windowsill garden. SunGemmers come in four different kits to give your child a variety.
Choose your child’s favorite and watch the colorful lights bathe your child’s gorgeous windowsill garden. Beautiful!
Which Garden Are You Building?
Whether indoors or outdoors, building a garden makes your child healthier in more ways than one. Your kiddo can boost their immune system just by having their hands in the dirt! Studies have proven gardening helps children with their eating habits, confidence, and academic scores.
As a bonus, you also create unforgettable memories with your child that may inspire them as they grow to continue this hobby. And every time they plant a new seed, they’ll think of their time with you.
So, are you building an indoor or outdoor garden with your little one? Let us know which gardening activities for kids you’re excited to try in the comments below. You can also tag us on Instagram or Facebook @plbfun to show us your family’s incredible garden.