• Gardening with children- 8 garden projects for you and a child

    by  • February 24, 2012 • Garden, Projects, Winter

    Easy garden projects for you and a child

    Interesting children in the joys of gardening can be fun. They’re eager to learn and amazed by seeds sprouting and flowers blooming.

    We have a passel of kids and even grandkiddies to have fun with, and these are some of the things we’ve tried.  This is a love letter to my children who have children and step-children of their own.

    Here are some fun projects to do with kids in the garden:

    Weave a daisy chain

    Learn to weave a flower wreath,...these are bachelor buttons

    Learn to weave a flower wreath,…these are bachelor buttons

    Secure into a circle with a bit of wire

    Secure into a circle with a bit of wire

    Watch seeds sprout

    Buy some bean seeds and sprout them in a wet folded paper towel. Lay the towel on a plate and keep it wet. check for roots each day with your child. Measure them with a small ruler. This is a nice indoor project.

    Picking out and unloading flowers from the nursery

    Picking out and unloading flowers from the nursery

     

    Loves digging!

    Loves digging!

    Grow a sweet potato plant.

    Here’s another indoor project. Take a sweet potato and stick three toothpicks in the sides around the middle. Set it in a glass jar with water filled to the middle of the potato. Then just watch. It will grow both roots and leaf sprouts. And it only takes a week or so to see results.

    The elementary sweet potato, my first house plant after moving out of the house! Ha!

    The elementary sweet potato, my first house plant after moving out of the house! Ha!

    Grow sweet peas

    Here is a New Year’s Day tradition for our family. Soak some sweet pea seeds by folding them in a wet paper towel set in a dish overnight. Find a spot in the garden that will get good sun next to a fence or trellis. Plant the seeds a half inch down and cover with soil. Tamp down. Water and watch seeds grow and flowers bloom. These can actually be planted anytime especially in cool months.

    Using an old gate as a trellis

    Using an old gate as a trellis

     

    Sweet, sweet peas, the perfect cutting flower

    Sweet, sweet peas, the perfect cutting flower

     

    Plant a child sized garden

    With your child, mark out a plot about 4 feet square in a sunny spot and build a trellis fence on two sides. Mix up a bag of concrete together to make a small pond or birdbath. You can just shape it with your gloved hands. Go to the nursery and let your child pick out some blooming flowers. Plant seeds like sugar snap peas and zinnias, radishes and marigolds. Hang a bird feeder nearby and you have your own little wildlife habitat. Make a sign with your child, saying ‘My Garden’ or with their name.

    Painting the trellis. Once that was done, we planted sugar snap peas (which never made it to the house) , Zinnias from seeds and marigolds

    Painting the trellis. Once that was done, we planted sugar snap peas (which never made it to the house) , Zinnias from seeds and marigolds

     

    Shaping the 'pond' from 1 bag of concrete mix

    Shaping the ‘pond’ from 1 bag of concrete mix

     

     

    Madeline's tiny garden

    Madeline’s tiny garden

    Plant an herb garden

    Hammer together three squares made of two x fours. Stack them up to make an herb garden tower.  Lay down a thick layer of newspaper on the spot where the garden will be in a sunny spot. Arrange the squares in a pattern, making triangular spaces for the plants and fill them with soil. Plant a different herb in each one like thyme, rosemary, chives, onions, parsley and sage, then when they grow use them for cooking lessons!

    Set a sundial in the middle.

    Do lay down newspaper over the soil to block weeds and don't plant mint! Oops, live and learn!

    Do lay down newspaper over the soil to block weeds and don’t plant mint! Oops, live and learn!

     

    Don't plant mint! Oops, live and learn!

    Don’t plant mint! Oops, live and learn!

    Create a wildlife habitat

    Provide water, bird seed feeders, and a small pile of brush for birds to hide in. Plant flowers like butterfly bush and sages and lavender to attract birds and bees. Arrange these a certain distance away from a cozy comfortable spot where you can sit with your child and watch the creatures come and go. It will become a tradition to come here and talk. Bring out cups of tea on a cold day.

    Plant buddleias and other butterfly attractors

    Plant buddleias and other butterfly attractors

     

    Growing a mold garden

    Here is a good project for a rainy week and if your child if they like gross yucky amazing things. Cut a piece of bread in quarters. Sprinkle the pieces with some water droplets. Give each piece to a child and have them wave them in the air to make contact with mold spores. Seal each piece loosely in foil and put in the back of a drawer or container out in the garage. Don’t peek for 1 week! After a week, open the foil packets. See what you see. More info here. Eeyeeww! Fun!

    A word about the photos:  These photos are from my former garden in the suburbs of Orange County, California, when I was raising my three children and conducting Brownie meetings where we planted sweet peas and grew mold. The photos are old but hopefully show what fun we had!

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.