Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

Indoor Gardening With Kids

It may be the end of January but the sun is shining in our neck of the woods, which is actually pretty unusual for this time of year.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and it is usually freezing in January!

Whether the sun is shining in your area or not, this is the time of year that kids get antsy from being indoors a good amount of time.  So it’s a great time for gardening with kids and for igniting their imagination, to dream, plan and create!

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Gardening with kids at this time of year?  Yes!  What do you think of when you think of a garden?  Vegetables, Flowers, Herbs?  A huge garden in a country backyard or a petite garden in the inner city?

I happen to believe that all children should have the confidence and knowledge to know that they can plant a seed in the ground and learn how to nurture and care for it in order to see the fruit of their labor.  After all growing flowers, fruits and veggies is a life skill that someday they may need!

Here are a few guidelines that you might like to use to get you started growing a little garden;

  • Make it easy ~ In this day and age of being busy we want things to be easy.  Easy seeds to grow, easy gardens to tend and easy to gather supplies.

  • Purchase child size plastic garden utensils so that the kids have their very own.  Even if you plant a small seed indoors, kids can become familiar with what each utensil does.

  • Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of a garden.  A “garden” can be 1 seed in 1 container on 1 windowsill of your home.  There you have it…an indoor garden.

See how easy a little garden can be?  Let’s further investigate the reasons having a garden with your child is such an awesome thing.

Types of Gardens you can grow with kids:

  • As mentioned above, you can have a teeny tiny garden on your window sill to a big elaborate garden outdoors, but since we are thinking along the lines of indoor gardening, let’s start there.

  • You can plant a seed in any kind of container you like; buckets, boots, milk cartons, 2 liter pop bottles…anything!  The main thing you need  to have is some drainage on the bottom so that over watering does not occur.  If the container you use doesn’t already have holes, make them.

  • Seeds that grow super easy indoors are Beans,  Radishes,  Onions,  Peas,  Sweet Alyssum,  Nasturtiums,  Parsley.

  • Make sure that you pick a spot in your house that will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight.  If you don’t have this, there are special growing light bulbs you can buy at your local garden nursery.

  • Be sure and do the above things together! Planning a garden is a big part of the fun.

Benefits of gardening with kids:

  • Creates a sense of self confidence and self reliance.

  • Stimulates the senses with wonderful smells.  Not to mention the fun of digging in dirt!

  • Kids become curious and start to ask many “scientific” questions: How does the seed grow? How long will it take?  How can we make it grow faster?

  • Parent child bonding happens when doing a fun project together while investigating the wonders of that little seed that is underground.  Use your own sense of wonder Mom and Dad!

Gardening projects to do with kids:

There is no end to the little garden projects you can do with kids, here are just a few!

  • Plant grass in the shape of your child’s handprint ~ super easy and grass grows fast.Grassy Handprint.jpg

  • Seed Sorting ~ Buy different sizes of seeds and sort them, glue them into pictures and then plant them.
  • Create little garden markers (even if you plant one seed) out of popsicle sticks.

  • Create a little chart to keep track of the day you last watered your seeds.  Then make a chart for when your seed starts to grow.  Measure each week out big it is growing.

  • Grow Seed Hair!

  • Gather free catalogs and cut out the pictures, sort by whether they are flowers or vegetables.  Glue them into a little notebook.grow seed hair.jpg

For more ideas on gardening fun with kids you can hop over to this great Pinterest resource with over 64 great ideas or check out nature camps near you.

Teaching patience is hard to teach children.  With gardening, you can be doing other fun projects while they wait patiently for that little seed to pop out of the ground.  Part of being patient if finding other things to do while you wait.

Happy Gardening!