If you have kids, you may have already started gardening with them, maybe they've grown up gardening, or maybe they've never planted a thing in their lives. No matter how much they know about gardening, they can enjoy these easy-peasy projects for their originality, the fun of seeing results quickly, and the ability to do them both indoors and out. You can actually start most indoors then move them to containers outdoors.
Best of all, with many of these projects, kids can literally eat the fruits of their labor. For many kids, this part alone will be a revelation. It's hard to imagine where food comes from unless you've been in the trenches digging holes; planting seeds, bulbs, sprouts, or seedlings; then watching these living things grow into full-fledged plants that kids can pick and eat.
These projects have been kid tested and have passed the criteria for fun. Most important, kids have declared them all "not boring."
01 of 07
Grow Celery in a Dish
Growing celery from the bottom of a bunch is one of the easiest and most satisfying projects to do with kids. To start, all you need to do is to buy a bunch of celery and then place the celery bottom in water. In a day or two, you should see growth. Once it roots, you can plant the celery bottom in a container or in your garden and grow celery stalks or leaves, which are great for cooking.
Be aware that it's best to start with organic celery. According to the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen 2019 list of foods with the most pesticide residue, celery ranks in the top 12. Conventionally grown celery works just as well, but it may not be as clean. Look for a bunch of celery that's firm with tightly packed stalks. The leaves should be green and fresh looking.
02 of 07
Grow Garlic Greens in a Can
Another all-time favorite kid-friendly project is growing garlic greens indoors. One of the best things about this project is having the spindly but tasty greens to cook with in the winter, which is a treat for parents. When fully grown, they resemble long, skinny scallions, which makes sense since both plants are alliums; all onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives are in the allium family and they've been around for millennia.
This project requires a little patience since it takes a while for the garlic to grow. Fortunately, it is worth the wait. Rest assured that once the shoots emerge, they grow quickly.
03 of 07
Grow a Vine From a Sweet Potato
Historically, people grew sweet potato plants as decorative houseplants. Ornamental sweet potato vines were and still are selectively bred to be decorative, with a wide variety in leaf shape, habitat, and color. When you have non-ornamental plants, it is easy and inexpensive to grow potatoes.
To sprout a sweet potato, you submerge half of it in water. This will grow into a cool plant. A huge bonus is that you can eat the young leaves and stems, both of which are really tasty.
What's more, you can gather the sprouts, also known as slips, and plant them outside in your garden or in a container. They need lots of sun and take 100 to 140 days to produce sweet potatoes, but it's not difficult.
04 of 07
Grow a Garden in an Eggshell
This eggshell garden project is a little tricky for very young children so they will need some help. You simply hold an eggshell and use a needle to poke a hole in the bottom. Then put something porous over the hole, such as a piece of plastic window screening, a paper towel, or a coffee filter; all of these work as long as they are just big enough to cover the hole.
The kids can paint or draw faces on the eggshells and even give them names. You could also decorate the shells with stripes, polka dots, or other motifs.
You then fill the eggshell about three-quarters full with potting soil. Plant oat or wheat grass seeds, covering them with more potting soil. You have to keep the soil moist and the easiest way to do this is to spray water on them with a spray bottle. The seeds sprout pretty quickly.
You could also make egg gardens by planting tiny plants such as pretty violas or small ferns in the eggshells.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Grow a Garden in a Mason Jar
Mason jars are fashionable and for good reason. You can use these inexpensive jars for both drinking glasses and food storage. You can also turn them into cool terrariums. There are two ways to do this. The first couldn't be easier: You simply get a tiny plant, leave it in its tiny pot, rest it on the lid of the Mason jar, and then invert the glass over it and screw it shut.
The second way to do it is to take a tiny plant out of its little pot and plant it in the lid of the jar. You'll need a little moss to make this look finished. And the upkeep for these plants is very easy to follow.
06 of 07
Garden in a Juice Box
Any number of things can be grown in a juice-box garden. You can grow something from seed or plant pansies and violas in the spring. They don't usually live all that long because the container is so small, but if you are vigilant, they can last a few weeks.
It's also fun to grow grass or other seeds in juice boxes because they grow so quickly. When your plants are ready for transplanting, you just cut the juice box open.
You can even make your juice box into a self-watering planter by threading string through the drainage holes that you've cut into the bottom. The strings should hang into a dish of water.
07 of 07
Turn a Toy Into a Garden
There are lots of toys and other containers that are just perfect for turning into gardens, and kids will love coming up with ideas. A kiddie pool makes a great raised bed, and trucks, wagons, and almost anything else that can hold enough potting soil and a plant will do. Make sure to add drainage holes so excess water can escape.
Keep in mind that the more soil your toy holds, the more options you'll have regarding what to plant. Succulents, for instance, are great for small toys. Also, it's probably best to avoid growing edibles in plastic toys. The material is not food grade and can potentially leach lead into the soil and the plant.