Five Fun Family Gardening Projects

Julie Lemerond August 27, 2015

Getting outside with your kids in our awesome fall weather is a must.  One easy way to find an outdoor activity that can be done right at home is to get your kids into the garden! 

Gardening is a great way for children to learn about the world around us.  They will see how life grows and changes, where food comes from, and it will help them feel connected to our planet earth, hopefully gaining a healthy respect for it in the process.  Plus, studies show that kids are more likely to eat their fruits and veggies if they watch them grow.  Sounds like a win-win for kids and parents alike!

Here are some fun projects to tackle with the family:

1.  Create markers to notate each plant

Once the green leaves make their way to the surface and start shooting skyward, it can be easy to forget which seeds you planted where.  This first project involves a little artistic flair.  Use wooden garden markers or big smooth rocks (large enough to fit in the palm of your hand),

and get out the paints!  Outdoor acrylic paint works best since your project will be subject to the elements.  Use a Sharpie or puffy paint to write the names of the plants on each one, then allow to dry and finish with a sealant. 

2.  Create a space for each child to have their own garden

The kids will love making their own choices with this one.  Start with getting garden fencing at a gardening store, then let each child choose the color they’d like to paint it.  Then let them choose what they’d like to plant in their garden - flowers or veggies?  (Help them succeed by only offering choices of seeds that grow well in our Arizona climate.) 

3.  Make a plant family

For this one, you will be planting whatever you choose in different pots, to be lined up together somewhere outside.  Get bigger pots for mom and dad, and smaller ones for the kids.  Planting pots can be painted, and can be decorated with buttons, yarn, glitter, jewels, or whatever your child chooses.  Using a permanent marker, write each person’s name on the pot as well.

4.  Invite hummingbirds to stay

While a simple hummingbird feeder may do the trick, if you have a large yard and would like to create a hummingbird haven for your kids (and you!) to enjoy, there are a variety of native plants that will keep them coming back for more.  Most conical flowering plants do the trick - Ocotillo, Fairy Dusters, and Chuparosa’s are but a few.  (Grab off a red leaf from the Chuparosa tree and eat it - taste like a cucumber?)

5.  Grow, Eat, Repeat

Plant a garden with things that grow fast and are edible - the kids will have fun watching them grow, and will look forward to eating them too after they help harvest them!   Carrots, lettuces, and radishes are a few quick growers, with zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and a variety of herbs not far behind.  And don’t forget about your very own fruit trees!  Grapefruit and lemons can become a staple in your diet when the timing is right.   

(Photo by: LAJPhotos, Lori A. Johnson.)