DIY for kids: Fun gardening to do at home!
Gardening is a great way to keep children busy, whether you have a large garden, a small patio or even an apartment without a balcony, you can always find a way to do some planting and bring a bit of nature into your children's lives.
Gardening teaches children about the passing of time, the seasons and the life cycle of a plant. For it to be fun and rewarding for them, the plants need to grow fast and there needs to be a result. With some of our nature-oriented ideas, you'll have plenty to keep them occupied during the school holidays!
A little pot of seeds...
Some empty egg boxes, a bit of soil, some seeds... You don't need much to have a good time! Choose fast-growing seeds. Radishes, fava beans, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas, etc. are all ideal for planting with children, because their journey from seed to shoot to plant is fast and they require little care - just a little water and you’ll be seeing progress every day. Some flowers, such as nasturtiums and marigolds, grow quickly and can be used to decorate salads or desserts.
Don't have a vegetable planter? Plant the seedlings in egg boxes! A little bit of soil and some coffee grounds: that’s all there is to it. You can even plant the box directly into a pot once the seeds have sprouted.Remember to recycle your vegetable leftovers to create new plant beds. You can make sure your spring onion roots (the little hairs) don't go to waste: cut the spring onion roots into the shape of a hat and simply replant them in a little bit of soil. In two weeks, your child should see a new spring onion emerging. And, just like that, you can add them to your meals! Found some potatoes sprouting in your vegetable drawer? Head straight to your vegetable plot!
Radishes, the star of the field brought to your plate
Radishes are always a good bet. In 18 days, your child can plant them, see the seeds sprout, see the shoots grow, see the leaves appear... and see their radishes develop. You will need to water them a little every day, and thin out the plants if necessary so that the radishes can thrive... then after 3 - 4 weeks you’ll be able to start sampling them. What if the radish bulbs haven't grow well? Don’t worry, just use the radish tops and leaves to make a delicious soup or a peppery pesto.
This isn’t about growing lentils to eat them, but rather taking advantage of how fast they grow to create fun lentil friends. Take a handful of lentils and soak them overnight in a ramekin. The next day, place some soil at the bottom of an empty eggshell, put the lentils in it and cover them with 2 mm of damp soil. After just two days, the first tender green shoots will emerge. Then they’ll just keep on growing so fast that your kids will be fascinated to see nature working at such a pace. In no time, after a little bit of watering, their little lentil friend will be sporting a funny green tuft of hair!
Taste your homegrown strawberries and cherry tomatoes
Easy to grow, even in apartments, strawberries and cherry tomatoes are a great choice for young gardeners.
You can easily find plants, which are already loaded with fruit at nurseries or at Bunnings!
Soak each plant in a little water and plant it in the middle of a pot with a diameter of about 30 cm: the pot should be filled with soil and the bottom should be lined with clay pebbles. Wedge a stake deep into the soil next to the young plant and attach the first stems to it, placing the plant in a sunny spot. Give your child the task of watering the plants: the soil must be damp but not waterlogged. Given a sense of responsibility, your child will be proud to dish up their own produce once the tomatoes or strawberries have grown!
Take on the Potato challenge
Everyone likes potatoes. If you have a little bit of room on your balcony, have a go at growing them yourself. Make sure to keep hold of those small potatoes that you've found sprouting in your vegetable drawer. They are ready to be planted.
Pour about 30 cm of soil into a vegetable planter placed in a sunny spot where the plants will be sheltered from the rain - a window sill does the trick. Bury the potato sprouts facing upward, equidistant from one another, pushing them down into the soil until the soil reaches the top of your fist. Pour a very generous amount of water over them. Then water regularly so that the soil remains moist but doesn’t become waterlogged. After a few days, sprouts will start emerging. Once they have reached about 20 cm in height, add a 10 cm layer of soil and repeat this every three weeks. Once they've flowered, your plants will start to wilt after about three months. Stop watering and wait a week before harvesting them. To do this, turn the vegetable planter out onto some plastic tarpaulin: in the big mound of soil you’ll find delicious potatoes ready to eat, which you can incorporate into whichever recipe your child fancies!
Don’t forget a bit of decoration...
Have you planted your seeds? It's time to have some fun decorating your little garden! Use wooden sticks to create markers to plant in the soil to identify your child's crops.
Have you planted your seedlings in eggshells? Don’t forget to draw on eyes or to add some stickers to give your little friends funny faces.
Make use of your toys and Lego figures to create fun little scenes with your child. Their little garden will come to life!
To keep track of all these achievements in the garden, suggest making a gardening notebook: document what they’ve planted, track the seed germination, let your child draw their seedlings and the adventures of their plants, or stick in some leaves like you would for a herbarium. Take a photo every day to document the growth. You could even come up with recipes using your produce, like radish-top soup - very easy to make even if your radishes haven’t grown well! It will be a nice memory to share later on; your child could take it in to class or show it off to family!