Gardening and learning about gardening should be year-long activities, no matter the season. Keeping children entertained and interested in science and horticulture can be a challenge. Here are some creative ideas to keep their interest alive and teach some basic science in the bargain.
Cheap Gardening Activities To Get Kids Interested in Science
These are simple, fun little gardens that can be grown in a window at any time of year. All that’s needed is a window that gets sun for most of the day and some containers of soil to put there. If you are working with more than one child, giving each of them their own window to grow in can make for fun competition and less fighting. Herbs and simple plants should be the choice here, as they are easy to grow and move along fairly quickly.
Watching Seeds Sprout
This is fundamental gardening science at its best. Using a glass jar, put seeds from a sprouting plant (alfalfa, zucchini, lentil, etc.) and then insert a damp paper towel. Add water to the towel to keep it moist, as needed. In a few days, the seeds will begin to sprout. Kids love watching the sprouts press upwards, no matter the obstacle, and many sprouts are tasty and good for you too. This can be repeated often with different seeds each time, much to the delight of the youngsters.
What is more cool than alien, weird-looking plants that do awesome things like eat flies? Not much in a kid’s world. Venus flytraps, odd-looking cactus plants, pitcher plants, and even “living rocks” from the desert are all cool plants that children will get a lot of joy from. Most are available at local garden centers or by mail order.
What kid doesn’t love worms? Worm farms can be used for vermiculture, or the making of worm-made compost. This is a fun, inexpensive, and stink-free way of introducing children to the concepts of recycling, composting, and the degeneration and renewal process itself.
Setups for vermicomposting can be purchased at relatively low cost and can be kept indoors year-round. Kids will love throwing kitchen scraps into the bin and seeing the beautiful dirt that comes out the bottom. The worms themselves make for great conversation as you explain the composting procedure and how they work their magic.
Using a large jar, old fish tank, or anything that can be converted into a sizable terrarium, show your kids how to care for specific plants and the conditions required to keep a plant happy. This is also a great way to introduce the concepts behind hydroponics and similar garden methods.
Bird watching is a fun activity, but feeding the birds and learning their species names and recognition is a great experience. Stock up on birdseed this winter and feed the birds that haven’t left for the season. Identify the species and let your child interact with the birds through the feeder.
Garden Crafts for Kids
A lot of projects for the garden can be undertaken during the off-season. Hand painting next year’s clay pots, homemade whirligigs and scarecrows, going through catalogs to select next year’s plantings, building birdhouses, and a lot more can be done to keep your child interested, learning, and entertained.