How to Include Gardening for Children in Your Homeschool
Gardening is a great activity you can do with your family, and it has many benefits! Planting a kids vegetable garden, for example, can get your kids to enjoy the outdoors, learn about plants, and appreciate healthy living. The process can help them to embrace hard work, develop patience, and grow responsibility. Teaching kids to grow a garden can be rewarding for you as well as you provide your children with a productive life skill and hobby that can continue through adulthood. What you may not have realized is that gardening for children can also help with academics, and garden projects for kids can fit nicely into your homeschool curriculum! Check out these resources to find out how:
|Homeschool Gardening Curriculum and Books|
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How to Start Gardening for Children
Not all children’s gardens will look the same. There are many options, from rototilling a large vegetable garden in the backyard to sectioning off a part of your flower garden for your child. You can garden with containers or raised beds, create a hoophouse or a hotbed, or design a specialty garden, like a butterfly garden or soda bottle terrarium–or even a fairy garden. You can even garden inside! Here are some ideas for how to create an outdoor or indoor garden for kids:
Children Growing in the Garden | The Garden Helper
“At the end of the day, (even though Mom had done 99% of the work…) we would always stand back, together, to admire how beautiful “OUR” garden looked!” Let this page inspire you! Then read some tips on learning in the garden and how to establish your child’s own garden bed. The site is also full of information on everything from garden basics to a plant buying guide and a garden glossary.
Fairy Gardens for a Kids | A2ZHomeschooling
A full people-sized garden too much to swing? Try building a fairy garden (or some other miniature setting for tiny farmers or dinosaurs or whatever)! Follow these directions and then look at the links for more ideas!
Gardening with Children | Earth Easy
Through gardening, children can follow their curiosity, learn to care for something, or simply enjoy playing in the dirt. Find out what are the easiest plants to grow for young gardeners and discover tips for gardening with children.
Gardening with Kids | Planet Natural
Learn about gardening basics, kid-friendly gardening tips, and plants kids love to grow. Find suggestions and links to gardening projects for kids, too.
Gardening with Kids: What to Plant and Fun Activities | The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Learn how to get kids into the garden, start seeds, create a small vegetable garden, and choose what to plant. Garden projects for older kids are also listed. Be sure to explore the site for lots of information about gardening as well.
Herb and Bean Indoor Garden Kit $
“Gardens aren’t just for adults! Teach your children about the wonders of fresh herbs and home planting. Grow indoors from the comfort of your own kitchen window…. Each one of our plant kits is a mini-STEM lesson in a box. Whether you plan on having an outdoor garden or a simple windowsill setup, our starter kit is an excellent way to impart a love of science to your little ones.”
Herb Gardening 101: Homeschool.com
Maybe you don’t have the space or time for a large vegetable garden. You may want to plant an herb garden instead. Find some great tips here for planting herbs in a small garden or even in containers.
Hotbeds and Cold Frames | Purdue University Cooperative Extension Services
Looking for a way to start a children’s garden, and you don’t have a large yard? If you have some old windows around, you can turn them into a hotbed or a cold frame by following these directions.
How to Build a PVC Hoophouse for Your Garden | The Westside Gardener
Building an unheated PVC hoophouse can extend your gardening season and protect your plants. The best part is that your young gardener can be involved in its simple construction. Get directions here!
How to Create a Butterfly Garden | HGTV
What child isn’t fascinated with butterflies and metamorphosis? This is a great resource for how to start a butterfly garden or, simply, how to make your garden more attractive to these beautiful insects.
HSP Nature Toys Root-Vue Farm $
“Planting box with acrylic window for students to observe plants and roots develop as they grow, for all grades (age 5+)…. includes planting box with acrylic window, basin with drainage reservoir, grow mix, plant identification labels, root markers, growing chart, three packets of seeds, and 16-page booklet.”
Make a Soda Bottle Terrarium
Have fun and make a little mess. Then enjoy your soda bottle terrarium for a long time to come.
Garden Projects for Kids
Whether you are creating a kids vegetable garden or flower garden in your backyard or a smaller indoor garden, the activities don’t have to stop with planting and watering. You can design garden projects for kids and include learning opportunities around gardening that relate to almost any subject area. Here are a few ideas:
Alphabet Garden at Hayes Valley Farm
Check out this unusual garden! Going against typical planting techniques, this garden has arranged edible plants from A to Z. Take an inventory of your garden and see which letters of the alphabet are missing!
Flower Patterns and Fibonacci Numbers
The Fibonacci sequence of numbers (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…) is based on the pattern that each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. Why is the number of petals in a flower often one of those numbers? Study different flowers and learn more about this fascinating number sequence.
Flowerpots with Ice Cream & “Dirt” | The Pioneer Woman
As a home and careers project, make this stunning and delicious treat for your first garden party! Kids will love the buried worms in the “dirt”!
Fun Activities (for Kids) to Do with Plants | Aggie Horticulture
Check out this long list of activities to do with plants and gardens. Play with dirt or press flowers. Research state garden products or observe weather and the effects on the garden. There is something for everyone here!
Soda Bottle Composting for Kids | Planet Natural Research Center
How about some science? Encourage your child to learn about the decomposition process by creating a micro-composter in a soda bottle.
Winter Gardening Activities for Kids
You can’t garden in the winter, right? Wrong! You can do garden-related activities indoors or prepare for your garden activities in the spring. This list will help to get you thinking about garden projects during the winter—even if the weather gets chilly where you live.
Homeschool Gardening Curriculum and Books
You can even find formal lessons and activity collections to help you design a garden unit study or weave a garden theme across several subjects. These resources can help you do just that!
Best-Ever Step-by-Step Kid’s First Gardening: Fantastic Gardening Ideas For 5 To 12 Year-Olds, From Growing Fruit And Vegetables And Fun With Flowers To Wildlife Gardening And Outdoor Crafts $
By Jenny Hendy (Author)
“This exciting new book contains 120 easy-to-follow step-by-step projects suitable for every child aged 5 to 12. An informative introduction covers all the basics, from safety, equipment, and commonly used terms, to how plants grow, general care, and sustainable gardening.”
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth $
By Mary McKenna Siddals (Author)
“Kids everywhere are knowledgeable about the environment and climate change. Not only is composting becoming more common in households and residential gardens, but many school gardens feature compost piles, too. But how do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? Perfect for an Earth Day focus or year-round reference, this inviting book provides all the answers for kids and families looking for simple, child-friendly ways to help the planet.”
Free Homeschool Gardening Unit Study Resources | Free Homeschool Deals
Find preK-early elementary units about seeds and other garden topics, learn about butterflies and other garden critters, and be creative with gardening activities and crafts. Enjoy plant and seed unit study resources and literacy-based activities, as well as planting, planning, and observation resources.
Gardening for Kids: 35 Nature Activities to Sow, Grow, and Make $
By Dawn Isaac (Author)
“Dawn Isaac shows you how to sow a wheelbarrow vegetable garden, make cress caterpillars, build an insect hotel, or plant a sunflower alley in your own backyard, using everyday objects and recycled junk…. Whether your outdoor space is big or small, or just a balcony or even a window ledge, these fun and creative ideas will keep your kids entertained—and learning about gardening—all year round.”
Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden $
By Renata Brown (Author)
“A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings.”
Lessons to Grow By | Kids Gardening
Access this free 15-week program of weekly garden-themed lessons and activities for at-home learning. Lessons are designed for grades 3-5 but can be adapted easily for older or younger children. All you need to do is enter your name and email!
Let’s Get Gardening $
By DK Authors
“In this colorful guide featuring 30 easy gardening projects, kids will learn to grow their own fruits and vegetables, attract wildlife such as butterflies and bees, and recycle household items into animal habitats and fun decorations. Whether they’ve got a big backyard or just a windowsill, kids can grow all sorts of plants with this beginner’s gardening book.”
Resource Library | The Edible Schoolyard Project
Enjoy this collection of lessons on everything from “How to Direct Seed” to “Making Seed Balls” to “Growing from Food Scraps.” You can search the collection by grade level, edible education topic, instructional approach, and more.
The Secret Garden $
By Frances Hodgson Burnett (Author)
Bring this classic novel into your homeschool and get your child inspired to garden! “This gorgeous paperback includes Tasha Tudor’s iconic illustrations, an extended author biography, activities, and more, making it the perfect collector’s edition or a wonderful gift for young readers.”
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt $
By Kate Messner (Author), Christopher Silas Neal (Illustrator)
“Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant and lyrical book, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves…and down in the dirt.”
Other Resources for Kids and Gardening
Here are just a few other resources to help you and your family get excited about gardening:
5 Ways Growing Your Own Food Enhances Child Wellbeing | Herbalife Nutrition Foundation
Learn what one workshop program discovered about the effects of gardening on children. This will make you want to start your own children’s garden for sure!
Great Plant Escape | University of Illinois Extension
See if you can solve six cases based on the important plants in our lives. Try these mysteries as a way to relax after a long day of gardening!
Want to know how to link your garden to STEM learning in your homeschool? Check out our Spring into STEM page below.
Have you tried some fun garden projects in your homeschool? Please share your ideas and resources in the comments section below….