Gardening with the kids is a fun springtime activity that can keep them entertained and educate them about ecology at the same time. You may be able to keep children of all ages fascinated with a variety of educational and fun gardening projects that are easy to do at home in the yard. The possibilities range from vegetables, to flowers, to grasses and more.
Help with Spring Cleanup.
Have the kids help prepare flower beds for planting by removing leaves. They can also help around the yard by collecting sticks and twigs that have fallen over the past months. If you live in a wooded area, the kids may also be able to collect branches for use in your fire pit or for the burn pile, if permitted in your area.
Start Vegetable Plants from Seeds Indoors.
Recycle yogurt containers or purchase starter kits so kids can start vegetable plants indoors from seeds. When ordering seeds, try to order from a supplier located in the climate zone where you live. Before planting, be sure to poke holes in the bottom of containers for drainage, and use seed-starting mix instead of soil to ensure the right conditions for sprouting. Garden soil is not recommended for indoor sprouting, since it may not drain well and may contain weed spores. Plant extra seeds in each section and be sure to plant them to the correct depth. Keep the plantings moist and move them to a well-lit location once sprouts emerge.
Give Kids Their Own Garden Space.
Encourage kids to plant their own vegetable garden by giving them their own space or containers and allowing them to choose the fruits and vegetables they’d like to grow. Great options include easily recognized plants that are also simple to grow and maintain, such as pumpkins, beans, carrots and sunflowers. Give kids their own set of gloves and tools, and teach them how to plant, water, weed and harvest all season long.
Create a Flower Cutting Garden.
Help kids plant their own garden filled with plants that are approved for cutting and creating bouquets they can give away later in the season. Select a sunny, out-of-the-way section of your yard for the garden bed, and choose easy-to-grow, low-maintenance flowers like dahlia, zinnia, sunflower and black-eyed susan. You may also want to choose plants that will flower at different points during the season, to keep the supply of cuttings coming. To prepare for planting, remove the grass, and aerate and break up the soil, adding topsoil if necessary. Arrange plants throughout the bed before planting to account for their size and space needs as they grow, and to make it easier for kids to care for them. Help kids weed, water and fertilize the plants properly throughout the season, too. As the plants grow and flower, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to teach kids about their care. And the kids will have parent-approved cuttings to create beautiful bouquets for you and loved ones all season long.
Plant Wild Ornamental Grasses.
Ornamental grasses are a beautiful and fast-growing option that can also provide a sense of enclosure and privacy in the yard. Kids may enjoy these lush plants as the backdrop to hideaways and summer clubhouses. Some popular options include red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), which is soft yet robust; fragrant lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus); reed grass (Calamagrostis); and inland/Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).