Having kids in the garden with you is so good for them AND for you! When your kids are playing in the garden OR working on kids’ gardening projects, they will be engaging all of their senses…
- smelling the soil, the veggies, the herbs, the flowers…
- seeing the colors and textures of different plants…
- hearing the wildlife and hearing you talk about your love for the garden…
Having your kids in the garden with you also allows them to see you spend time on things that you love. They will see that you aren’t spending all of your time doing things that make you feel bad (hello dishes and laundry), but that you MAKE TIME for what you enjoy.
It might be a little overwhelming thinking about bringing the littles out to your garden spot… After all, what will you do to keep them from pulling up your plants and feeling like gardening is a chore?
I put together a list of 9 gardening projects for kids to give you some inspiration and motivation to just do it!
9 Gardening Projects for Kids
Use these kids’ gardening projects to involve your children in the garden as you share your passion with them.
#1: Build a Compost Bin
If you plan to make your own compost (which I highly recommend), have your kids help you build the bins!
There are several different ways to make a compost bin:
Choose which compost bin to build as your kids’ gardening project based on the amount of compost that you want to produce and how quickly you want to use it:
A one bucket composter is great if you don’t need a huge amount of compost and you can wait a little while to use it. You can expect to wait 6-12 months for usable compost from this type of bin.
If you have time to wait, but you need a larger amount of compost, then build a 4 pallet compost bin. This is basically just 4 pallets screwed together to create a box. You can drop your scraps inside and let them compost on their own. You could add worms to speed the process and you can turn the pile as frequently as needed.
Worm compost bins are wonderful if you need a faster turn around time for your scraps to turn into compost. A 3 bucket worm bin is set up similarly to a worm factory and produces a smaller amount of compost, but can be emptied and refilled easier.
A large worm composter made out of a storage bin will give your much more compost, but it can’t be emptied as easily.
#2: Make Upcycled Containers
Take some trash that you have around your house and let your kiddos make DIY planting containers out of them.
Be sure to put drainage holes in the bottom of whatever you use or you risk root rot and fungus growth. A 3/16″ drill bit is great for creating the drainage holes.
Ideas of items to use for this kids’ garden project:
- Milk Jugs: Cut a milk jug in half horizontally. Put drainage holes in the bottom and plant as usual. If you are using the top of the jug, keep the lid on and drill a couple of holes in it for drainage. You will need something to prop this container up because it won’t have a flat surface to rest on.
- Tires: Lay an old tire down, fill it with soil, and plant away!
- Cinderblocks: Plant herbs or flowers with small root systems in the openings of cinderblocks.
- Feed Troughs: Drill holes in the bottom of the feed or watering trough (if it isn’t already full of holes), add soil, and plant as usual.
- Cardboard Oatmeal Containers: Cut a tall oatmeal container in half horizontally. Poke drainage holes in the bottom. Add soil and plant!
#3: Grow a Portable Container Garden
You can let your kids grow their vegetables, fruits, or herbs in containers (like 5 gallon buckets). A container garden is portable and it will make your kiddos feel like they have their very own garden space. Just make sure to drill holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage. I use a 3/16″ drill bit for this.
Take into consideration the space needed for each plant’s roots. For example, the trees planted in this photo will need to be transplanted into the ground or into a larger container as they grow, BUT plants like carrots, radishes, lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes can live their full lives inside of a bucket.
#4: Make a Harvest Apron
Make a gathering or harvest apron with your kids. Using an apron instead of a basket keeps your hands free while you gather. This four pocket apron can be used to collect garden produce AND eggs.
You can sew this gathering apron by hand or use a sewing machine. Whichever you prefer.
The only items you need for this kids’ gardening project are:
- A Pillowcase (Standard size is fine)
- A Wide Ribbon
#5: Learn to Save Seeds
Your kids can play multiple roles in saving seeds from the garden:
- They can place blossom bags over new blossoms that you plan to collect from if you do not want the cross-pollenated.
- They can collect the seeds from the flower or fruit.
- They can help you to dry and clean the seeds as needed.
- They can help to label and organize the seed packs.
- Older kids can keep track of the seed inventory.
#6: Make a Bean Tent
Gather long sticks or poles and create a tent shape out of them as shown in the photo below. Be sure to tie them together at the top for stability.
Plant beans at the base of each pole. The beans will use the poles as a trellis to vine around. Eventually, the tent will be covered with beans and leaves. Your kiddos can hide out and play inside!
#7: Grow a Sunflower Playhouse
Similarly to the bean tent, you can grow a sunflower playhouse for your kids. To do this, simply plant sunflowers in a large circle leaving a space open that will serve as the “door”. When the sunflowers grow, this circle will become a secret room for your kids to play in.
#8: Make Kid-sized PVC Planters
A PVC planted like the one shown below can be built fairly easily. Cut holes in the top for placing soil, seeds, and transplants. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
Place the PVC planter at your children’s heights so that it is accessible for them. This specific PVC planter was placed in an elementary school by our local Farm to School program.
#9: Grow a Mystery Garden
A mystery garden is exactly what it sounds like… a garden that grows surprises!
To do this kids’ garden project, let the kids plant any mixed up or leftover seeds that you have. Let them take care of their space and see what fun veggies, fruits, herbs, or flowers pop up!
It is best to let the kids choose the space if you can. In the image below, you can see my daughter watering her mystery garden. When she chose this space I let her know that it was dry and clay-filled, but she wanted to use it anyway. When her plants didn’t come up she was disappointed, but she learned that soil type and location is very important for growth.