4. Watch Seeds Sprout. Line a glass
jar with a damp paper towel and insert several medium to large
seeds between the glass and the towel. Place a lid on the jar,
leave it on the kitchen counter, and check the paper every day
to make sure it is moist. In a few days those seeds will burst
5. Unusual Plants. An insect-eating
plant is irresistible, and can keep a child occupied for
hours. An excellent choice for this is the plant Venus
Flytraps. This plant can be found in many garden centers
in the house plant section.
6. Terrarium Garden. Carefully place
some soil and a few plants inside a clean jar. Keep this
garden moist with a plant mister and cover the opening with
clear plastic wrap with punctured holes and watch the plants
7. A Pizza Garden. Plan ahead for
spring and plant a pizza garden. Mark off sections of the
garden in pizza wedges. In the individual wedges plant
tomatoes, oregano, basil, and peppers. As the plants are
harvested have the child help make a pizza.
8. Hidden Treasures. For young
children, digging up carrots, potatoes, or radishes is like
searching for buried treasure. My grandson loves to dig up a
carrot, clean it off on his jeans, and eat it right in the
9. Watering Bucket. Outside have a 5
gallon bucket filled with water for watering the plants. Let a
child help with the watering. As the plants get watered a good
soak in the bucket to cool off is great fun.
10. Kid Size Tools. There is nothing
as much fun for a child as having tools the right size. Being
able to push around a small wheel barrel or the right size
shovel for digging gives hours of pleasure.
11. Scarecrows. Have a child search
for old clothes and stuff them with hay or straw. Put the
creation in the garden to ward off birds.
12. Giant Produce. Children are
impressed with giant versions of pumpkins, gourds, and squash.
Scratch the name of a child on one and watch the name grow.
13. Marigold Leis. These sunny
flowers bloom into fall. Pick blossoms and string along a
heavy thread for a colorful lei. When daisies or dandelions
are in season the same can be done, or wind the stems together
and place on the childís head.
14. Books for Children. Peter
Rabbit or The Secret Garden will have children
dreaming of spring gardens all winter long. Ask a librarian or
book seller for additional titles.
15. Their Own Garden. Give older kids
their own plot - a three foot by five foot space is adequate.
Let them choose which vegetables they want to grow and have
them plant the garden. Easy to grow veggies such as radishes,
squash, cucumbers, and corn keep them coming to the garden to
check the progress. Stay in the back ground as much as
16. Jack and The Beanstalk. Hyacinth
beans, with their large leaves and speedy growth, are said to
be the legendary beanstalk. Children love the heights to which
this bean grows.
17. House of Vegetables. Children
love to have their own hideaway. When vegetables are grown on
a teepee or A frame it makes a perfect little house. Vine
crops such as peas, beans, and cucumbers do very well.
18. Homegrown Gifts. This takes
advanced planning to give a gift from the garden. Here are a
few ideas: tie dried herbs and flowers with decorative ribbons
or package flower seeds collected from the garden. One year we
gave home grown caraway seeds as gifts.
19. Painted Pots. Let children
indulge their natural creativity by painting inexpensive
terra-cotta pots to use on the patio or as a gift. Craft
stores have safe, durable paint selections.
20. Pot People. Draw or paint faces
on pots and plant grass seed or trailing vines in the pots for
21. Leaf Detectives. Collect leaves
with unusual shapes and color and try to identify them with
the help of a vegetable or tree guide. Press and save them in
22. Build a Birdhouse. Birdhouse kits
and plans are easily found. Great activity for a cold day
indoors. A Purple Martin house is especially helpful in the
garden as the Purple Martin eats its weight in insects each
23. Visit Your Garden Center. Look
for child friendly garden items. Many centers have special
seeds, tools, and garden clubs for children that are
educational as well as fun.
Giving a child the thrill of discovering the
wonder and beauty of the garden is something that will stay
with them all their lives. I know because my grandmother did
this for me.
of Ehrhardt Organic Farm grows certified organic produce in
Knoxville, MD. She was recently appointed to the Advisory
Board for the Gore/Chernomydin Commission Agriculture
Committee's Working Group which includes extension, research,
and sustainable agriculture.