If you can introduce your children to gardening in a fun and interesting way, you could turn them into gardeners. Make the garden a fun place to be, with lots of interesting things to do. This can be fun projects or a health introduction to the eco-system of the garden including the birds and insects.
Get your kids interested in vegetables
If your kids plant and grow vegetables, they are more likely to eat them (or at least try them). Make it a policy that snacking in the garden is always ok.
Ask your kids to pick a few flowers in the perennial bed or even from the flowering shrubs. This will help them learn what colors go together, or how each flower has the same parts and yet are different.
Great gardening and craft projects to do with kids
- Grow a pole bean tent. This is a simple project with a little adult help. Purchase bamboo poles or use long straight branches. Gather them together and tie securely near the top. Spread the poles apart at the bottom and push into the garden soil in a circular pattern. Make the circle wide enough to fit two or three young children. Help the kids plant pole bean seeds around the perimeter, leaving the space between two of the poles unplanted. This will be the doorway. As the beans grow and climb the stick structure will be completely covered in vines except for the entrance. Add a blanket to sit on and a pillow or two and your kids will be in the garden all day.
- Make garden markers. Gather some smooth stones at the beach or riverbed. Wash and dry. Let your kids turn them into row markers by drawing a picture of the vegetable on the stone. Use them in your garden to identify the rows.
- Make a butterfly waterer. Butterflies like to drink in puddles. They don’t like the deep water of a birdbath. Help your children to dig a shallow hole to fit a saucer shaped plate or even the bowl of a birdbath. The, place the bowl in the hole and fill dirt around the birdbath. Finally, fill the saucer with sandbox sand and then fill with water. The butterflies will drink the water from the pockets around the sand. Surround the butterfly bath with annuals and perennial plants the butterflies love.
4. Paint birdhouses. Paint birdhouses and position them throughout the garden and yard. Watch to see which ones the birds build a nest in.
5. Grow seeds. Let your child grow whatever seeds he wants. Start them in a repurposed tin can or even an eggshell. Watch the seed grow and then transplant in the garden to finish growing.
6. Sunflower competition. Let each child grow several sunflower seeds. Give prizes for the tallest, the largest flower, the most plants that survived. Make enough categories that each child can win.
7. Very Hungry Caterpillar. Using about 9 rocks of decreasing size, have your kids paint the rocks the color of the Very Hungry Caterpillar from the popular children’s book by Eric Carle. All but one will be solid bright green. The largest will be used for the head and face of the caterpillar. Lay the caterpillar out in the garden under the flowering shrubs for all to enjoy.
8. Grow Grass Characters. Use sponges to make faces or buildings. Hold pieces together with toothpicks. Stand the sponge in a flat pan filled with water and spray until the sponges are saturated. Cover the roof or hair area with grass seed. Keep moist while grass grows. The seeds will stick in the holes of the sponge. You can cover the sponge with a loose plastic bag or storage container to keep the moisture in the sponge. Keep a small opening to allow air in to avoid mold.
9. Children’s Garden. Convert the children’s sandbox into a children’s garden. If your kids have outgrown the sandbox, add soil and allow the kids to plant what they want in their new garden. They may choose to mix flowers with vegetables or plant a few perennial plants like strawberries. In the fall encourage them to plant some spring blooming bulbs.
10. Bird Feeders. The easiest bird feeder to make with kids is the pinecone feeder. You’ll need pinecones, peanut butter and bird seed. And the string, yarn or ribbon to hang them. Cover the pinecones liberally with peanut butter. Fill all the nooks and crannies in the pinecone. Once it is coated, roll the peanut butter slathered pinecone in birdseed. The seeds will stick to the peanut butter. Tie a large loop to the pinecone for hanging in a tree or flowering shrub.
11. Planters. Do your kids have worn shoes or boots? Help the kids fill them with soil and turn them into a planter. They also can be filled with birdseed and hung upright on a tree for a very unusual feeder.
12. Upcycle plastic bottles. This one is best left to older children. Use the bottles to make unique planters out of milk cartons, juice cartons, or vinegar cartons. Turn the carton into creatures and funny heads by cutting out holes for plants that become hair or a nose or a spiny backbone. Your imagination and some paint is all your child will need to make fantastic creations.
Help your child fall in love with nature plants by spending time this summer creating your own garden. See their excitement when they grow something from a little seed. Let them try lots of vegetables with no pressure. They will learn a lot and have fun at the same time.
Check out our gardening maintenance tips for beginners to improve your space outside even more!