Get your kids excited about gardening and you’ll have a healthy, fun activity the whole family can enjoy. While your children help you plant seeds, water plants and pick ripe tomatoes and squash, they’ll learn where their food comes from and how to grow it themselves. They’ll also get some exercise in the fresh air and sunshine, while you’ll get some help with your flowers and veggies.
Don't forget to let children come up with their own kids' gardening ideas. They may want to grow fat watermelons, huge sunflowers or sweet peppers they can pull from the bushes and eat right in the garden.
How to Get Started with Kids' Gardening Ideas
Get your kids into digging and planting by giving them a few kid-sized garden tools. Let them help you pick out a small shovel, trowel, rake and watering can. If they use your gardening tools, show them how to use them safely. Putting them away at the end of the day is important, too.
If your youngest gardeners don't want to spend much time helping you in the garden for very long, that’s fine. Let them set their own pace and keep things fun. If they want to do more gardening as they get older, you will have planted the seeds of an enjoyable hobby and a useful life skill. If not, you had fun.
For best results with indoor kids' gardening projects, use good quality potting soil. For outdoor kids' gardening ideas, do a soil test and add amendments, if needed, before you begin. Work your garden spot to loosen the soil, then remove grass, weeds, rocks, sticks and other debris.
Be safe, and make sure the children don’t have allergies to any plants, insects or anything else they might encounter while gardening. Don't let them handle seeds, plants or fertilizers that may be toxic.
Kids' Gardening Ideas for a Leafy Hideaway
Find a sunny spot to make a tent that will be big enough for your kids to play in. Push some eight to ten-foot tall bamboo poles into the ground to form a circle and tie them together at the top with twine.
Next, start at the top of one pole and wrap twine around it. Pull the twine taut and wrap it around the next pole. Continue wrapping and pulling tightly all the way around and down each pole, leaving an opening for a door. Keep the last row of twine close to the ground, so when you plant, the young plants can latch onto it.
Now let the children plant climbing bean seeds around the base of each pole. When the beans sprout, you may need to help them catch onto the poles. They’ll form a nice, leafy tent or hideaway for your kids.
A Kids' Gardening Idea for Pizza Lovers
Kids love pizza, so let the older ones help you divide a garden area into “pizza slices.” Encourage them to plant tomatoes, peppers, onions, spinach and other kid-friendly pizza foods.
After the veggies are ready to pick, let older children help you slice or chop them for the pizza. Little ones can spread tomato sauce on the dough, arrange the vegetables on the dough and top the pizza with shredded cheese.
This is a good way to encourage picky eaters to try foods they might not usually touch.
A Kids' Gardening Idea for an Easy-to-Grow Houseplant
Save an avocado pit the next time you make avocado toast and gently wash it off. Let the kids stick a few toothpicks around the fattest part of the pit and a little more than halfway down.
Show them how to rest the toothpicks over the rim of a glass filled with glass, so the bottom of the pit touches the water. Put the glass in a bright window and let them check daily to see the roots growing.
When the pit has plenty of roots, let them pot it up in a container of soil to keep as a houseplant. It's unlikely to grow avocados, but it will be fun to see it leaf out and get taller.
Gardening Ideas for Preschool Kids
Plan a garden for preschoolers with short attention spans and little hands by growing yummy edibles like cherry tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries. Take them through the garden to pick and eat when the fruits and veggies are ripe.
Let preschoolers push a single, large seed, such as a sunflower seed, into a paper cup filled with soil. Put it in a sunny window and help them water it until it sprouts. This can be a sweet Mother's Day or Father's Day gift from the youngest member of the family.
Take little ones on a walk through a garden planted with lemon balm, peppermint, lambs’ ears and other plants that are fun to sniff or touch. Don’t let them eat or put anything in their mouths that isn’t safe and edible.
Help kids paint and decorate rocks to use as garden markers. If they're too young to know how to spell, add herb or other plant names to the rocks.
Kids' Gardening Ideas for Older Children
Help older kids turn a sandbox into a small garden. Make a few small holes in the sandbox so excess water can escape, and let them fill it with potting soil and their choice of flowers. For best results, have them grow flowers with the same basic needs for sunlight and water.
Let pre-teens and teens make a DIY terrarium to enjoy inside. It’s easy to create with a clear, glass bowl, some potting soil, activated charcoal and a few plants. Add a layer of crushed glass, moss or decorative pebbles on top of the soil.
Kids' Gardening Ideas for Watering
Kids love water, so let them give garden plants a drink from small watering cans, and don’t stress if they accidentally step on a few branches.
They also love to squirt water from a garden hose, so dress them in bathing suits and let them share a hose or water guns that aren't powerful enough to cause any harm to plants or people. With luck, your garden will get watered while they soak each other and scream with delight.
Gardening Ideas for Middle Grade and High School-Age Kids
Gardening helps kids learn about science, botany, ecosystems and much more. They learn life skills, too, such as responsibility and the rewards of hard work.
If you home school your children, consider joining other homeschooling families to create a community garden. If your children attend school, ask about growing a garden on the grounds or working at a community plot. You may be able to distribute the food to families in need or a local food bank, and send the flowers to a nearby nursing home.
A Carnivorous Garden for Kids
Venus fly traps, sundews and pitcher plants are fascinating to grow, because they feast on bugs that land on their sticky parts. To make a bog garden with carnivorous plants, add a layer of activated charcoal chips to the bottom of a shallow, waterproof saucer or other planter. The charcoal will help control odors from the standing water.
Top the charcoal with premade carnivorous plant soil. Have older kids remove the insect-eating plants from their pots carefully, so they don't harm the roots. Let them tuck them gently into the soil so the base of each plant stays above the container rim. You can do this step for younger children.
Wait until it rains and collect some rainwater, or use distilled water and have the kids fill the bowl to the top. Help them put the garden outside and cover the soil with some small, flat rocks, so it won't splash out when it rains.
Encourage the kids to sit or play outside from time to time and watch what happens to bugs that venture close to the plants. The plants will go dormant in the winter, but bring the bog garden inside when the temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
If this is too much for small children, simply let them pick out carnivorous plants and keep them in their pots to watch and grow.
Make Kid-Sized Flower Pots
Let little ones plant small plants in 1- to 2-inch terra cotta pots and decorate them with craft paint, decorative tapes or permanent markers. Suitable plants include small herbs like thyme, pansies or ivies. The children may need some help watering and caring for the plants, or they can give them as gifts.
Gardening is a wonderful hands-on activity for kids of all ages. It is a great way to teach children the values of growing and harvesting their own fresh food. Ready to start planting? Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate gardening products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay.