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Gardening with Kids Tips plus EASY Plants for Kids to Grow

My kids and I love to garden together. We spend all summer tending to our flower garden and watching the produce grow in our vegetable garden. But my kids favorite part is picking their vegetables and eating them! Here are some practical tips for you to start gardening with kids. We have so much advice on easy plants for kids to grow, how to plan your garden, how to prepare your garden, and more so your kids can get a green thumb and be successful gardners!
practical tips for you to start gardening with kids. We have so much advice on easy plants for kids to grow, how to plan your garden, how to prepare your garden, and more so your kids can get a green thumb and be successful gardners!

Gardening with kids

You should definitely garden with your kids this summer. Not only will you be successful with our gardening tips, but it is a wonderful, outdoor activity you can do together. Gardening with kids helps kids to understand where our food comes from, how it grows, and to develop a sense of wonder at how things work. There are lots of garden activities for kids to be part of this spring and summer. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Garden Activities for Kids

Preparing garden beds for a small suburban vegetable garden

Prepare the Garden Beds

There lots of wonderful resources on preparing garden beds, but here is the gist.

  • You need a location that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day (more is always better – especially for peppers!)You need soil to grow it in. If weeds grow there, a garden will too!
  • You may also want to “turn the soil” to loosen the dirt and add some peat moss (to help it retain moisture) and manure to add nutrients).
  • Create a fence, path, or somehow mark the edges of your garden. If kids step in your garden it will hurt tender vegetables. We used non treated railroad ties for this garden and non-treated 8-10” high pressed wood for the raised beds.

As soon as the garden can be worked with a shovel you can plant the weather appropriate seeds.
Planning my Home Garden

Kids vegetable garden

Plan your Garden! I think planning what we are going to plant is half the fun. My kids and I pour through seed catalogs in January, dreaming of summer and our vegetable garden. We make a plan for where things are going to grow, considering the space each one will need to grow, how much light they need, and what plants can be planted well together.

I use an excel spreadsheet to make a grid to plan how my vegetable garden will be planted.

Help kids plan their vegetable Garden

Easy Plants for Kids to Grow

My kids like to glue on pictures of what their garden will look like.  They each take ownership of a few vegetables; they become that master gardeners that water, weed, and pick the produce.

Planning a garden is a great, fun, educational activity for kids of all ages!

Don’t forget to plan for some supports for your vegetables! Crops that are falling over are hard to maintain and you’ll miss produce! We like the square cages with tall expander for tomatoes, pea fences, pole bean tower (for pickles and pole beans), a net over our strawberries, and triangle cages for the peppers and eggplants.

planting with kids

Planting with kids

What to Plant in your Kids Vegetable Garden? First, I suggest letting your child’s interests and pallet determine what to grow. But here are some recommendations based on things that are fun and easy to grow.

  • Radishes (ready the soonest! Great for eager gardeners)
  • Beans (kids are amazed at the loaded plants and enjoy picking a whole bunch)
  • Potatoes (easy to grown and are so fun to dig up!)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (kids enjoy picking these sweet treats and eating them raw)
  • Melon (melons are great fun to watch grow bigger and bigger and bigger! Try watermelon, cantaloupe, or pumpkin)
  • Carrots (kids are amazed at how long carrots can get under ground. Try growing them in a see through container for an especially big WOW)

Other Good Options if your kids like to eat these:

  • Cucumbers (Pickling) They are fun to pick and your kids will enjoy helping you make bread and butter pickles too
  •  Zucchini – These plants grow prolifically so there is always something to pick
  • Corn – One of our favorites to eat; also a favorite for critters to eat
  • Peppers – Peppers are so colorful and delicious to grow, but they take a long time for us Northern states to grow
  • Lettuce – Lettuce grows very quickly and is a great return on garden space. But again, only grow it if you’ll eat it!
  • Strawberries – These delectable treats will be gone before you know it. My kids think it is their snacking area outside.

Gear up!

Kids love having their own gear. If you have the funds, consider investing in some rain boots, kids gardening gloves, small shovels, and a kids watering can. They will love getting to help with their own stuff.

Planting Time!

Once it is warm enough to plant your seeds (see when to plant here) or plants (in the case of peppers and tomatoes) you get to get your hands dirty. Take a ruler with you and use it as an opportunity to teach kids about reading directions and measuring how far apart seed should be.

Make sure all weeds are picked before planting of they will choke out tender shoots.
After planting and lightly covering with soil, water your seeds in. You will want to make sure seeds and tender young plants get a steady supply of water until they are established (several weeks). Mind you that doesn’t mean a lot of water, unless it is from rain. There is such a thing as over watering. But for the most part plants are super hardy.

Gardening with Kids, 30-45 days after planting

Wait and Watch them Grow

Although waiting is hard work for kids, they will enjoy watering their garden and watching things grow. My kids are so excited to see the plants they’ve carefully taken care of get SO BIG!
Kids tending to watermellon in kids garden
When my son was 3 he would give the watermelon a hug every day. We sure had well loved watermelons!

Kids Gardening GIANT Zucchini

Harvest and EAT!

My kids love to help me pick things from the garden. From giant zucchini that have been hiding and gotten SUPER big to lettuce for a salad for lunch. We love to sit in our backyard and shuck peas together and dig out potatoes.

Harvesting 2 bushels of peppers from 9 pepper plants in kids garden

Easy plants for kids to grow

Gardening is a fun adventures and you will create priceless memories! I encourage you start gardening with kids this year.

About our Garden

The garden pictured in this post was from when we lived in the midwest in zone 5. We lived on a 0.25 acres in the suburbs. So if we could have a thriving garden, so can you! We have about 300 square feet of garden space plus 3 fruit trees, blackberry bushes (that thrive in part shade), 2 grape vines, and a row of about 10 raspberry bushes.  We are thrifty people who love gardening together as as family. I plan it carefully to optimize space (more on that later). Depending on the weather, we get about:

  • 2 bushels of peppers from 9 pepper plants (grown from plants ordered from Territorial Seed Company)
  • More Zucchini & Yellow Squash than our family of 5 can eat in a year from 1-2 plants (grown from seed)
  • 60+ jars of pickles from one bean pole tower filled with about 15 seeds around the base
  • A summers worth of daily salads using Lettuce & Spinach from a densely planted 5 foot row of each
  • Tomatoes for fresh salsa AND 40 quart size jars of homemade tomato sauce for winter from 4 plants (did I mention ours get to be over 9 feet tall!)
  • 15 meals worth of beans picked over the course of many weeks from about 15 square feet of densely grown green bean seeds
  • 3 carving pumpkins from one seed planted in a 12 square foot space allowed to vine around the garden
  • 12 butternut squash from 1-2 seeds
  • 2-3 meals of peas from a 15 square foot garden space (unless you get snap peas they are not a high yielding crop for the home garden, but they are fun)
  • 60 carrots about 8” long out of a 15 square foot area

More Gardening Tips

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Plant Activities for Kindergarten

DIY Lava Lamp - super easy way to make your own lava lamp with simple things you have around your house. This homemade lava lamp is such a fun science project for kids of all ages to sneak in some summer learning. This science experiment is for toddlers, preschoolers, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and kids of all ages at home, homeschool, summer camps, classroom, etc. Looking for a really fun and memorable science experiment for kids? You will love these EPIC pop rocks experiment. Try this pop rocks science experiment with preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students to try a simple chemical reaction. This Whether you try this pop rocks science experiments for homeschool science, at a science birthday party, or as part of a summer science project - this is a MUST try,  really cool science experimentkids will LOVE. Take your homemade playdough to a whole new level of FUN with this amazing Color Changing Playdough recipe. This is sure to be a hit with toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade children alike.  These super EASY to make marshmallow shooters are a must for your summer bucket list. This summer activity for kids is not only fun, but it is actually a STEM activity for kids too! Students assemble, tweak, and design this simple marshmallow cannon to try to get the most distance they can. THis is such a simple, but fun summer activities your preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and elementary age students in first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grdae, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students will want to try over summer break!

Summer Fun

Looking for more outdoor activities for kids and things to do in the summer? Your toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, and elementary age kids will love these fun ideas to keep them busy all summer long:

If you are looking for a fun unique activity using eggs, you will love this silly egg head craft. This egg shell diy chia pet is cute, simple and silly spring activities for kids. This egg shell craft is fun for toddler, prsechool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd graders too! bleeding tissue paper fireworks craft Spring is the time for field trips to the local zoo. In an attempt to make our homeschool field trips extra fun (and educational) I created these super cute, zoo scavenger hunt templates. We have lots of choices with these zoo scavenger hunt printable pack to accomidate kids of all ages from toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten to elementary age students in first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. Whether you use the simple animal scavenger hunt or learn about endagered animals or animal habitats in one of these zoo scavenger hunt ideas - kids will have fun learning about zoology in science. Simply download free printable scavenger hunt pdf file and you are ready to learn about animals with this printable scavenger hunt at your local zoo. EPIC Bubble Painting - kids of all ages will love this fun summer art project where they will make a bubble craft by blowing bubbles. Recipe included for this fun to make, easy, summer activity for kids!

Summer Activities for Kids

Edible Ice Cream Playdough Recipe - amazing 2 ingredient playdough recipe perfect for toddler, preschool, kindergarten and kids of all ages for an ice cream thing, kids activity, or summer bucket list #playdough #playdoughrecipes #icecream This vinegar and baking soda rocket is an out-of-this-world fun AND educational summer activity for kids! Preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students will enjoy making the baking soda rocket. This how to make a bottle rocket project is one of those really cool science projects your kids will remember forever!  EASY Stained Glass Craft for Kids - this fun art project is great for kids of all ages from toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, elementary age age and families to make to bright their front door or a window up with a spring craft for kids. You will love this art project

Fun Summer Activities for Kids

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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