Now that we are officially into spring, some kiddos may be gaining interest in gardening. I feel very blessed that my kids’ school offers gardening as part of their curriculum. Even though we’ve been in distance learning mode, the school still provides gardening activity ideas online and supplies in person. “Grow Portland” is a program that makes gardening activities accessible for several different schools in the Portland and David Douglas school districts, including my kiddos’ school: Ventura Park Elementary. The gardening program provides education about gardening through an instructor, a school community garden, and regular distributions of gardening supplies to school families. It is a beautiful organization. There are opportunities on their website to support their mission by becoming a donor, buying supplies on their wish list, or keeping their business through “Fred Meyer Rewards” or “Amazon Smile.” Here is a link to their website: https://www.growportland.org/. They also have a link for “lessons and activities” for your kiddo on the website. Besides supporting a local gardening organization, there are many opportunities online to get your kids involved in gardening. Below is a list of resources.
This is a Portland-based organization that assists low-income families with gardening endeavors. Families can get assistance with in-ground gardens, grow anywhere containers, or accessible raised garden beds based on income. They also do garden consultations. They do a lot for the youth as well. The website states that right now, with the pandemic, most of their resources are online. They have a YouTube channel filled with video lessons for kiddos at this link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLV9wqaMoR0D5VNxkHcklkkkoQNbI0wGzb. There are many fun titles that I saw like: bean dissection, habitat exploration, and what do plants need? It looks like there is a lot of helpful information through videos.
This website provides gardening lesson plans, growing guides, and kids’ activities. There are also a ton of educator resources included on the site. A section called “Easy parenting and kid garden activities” has a top 10 list of great ideas. Kitchen scrap gardening, pressed flowers, and gardening scavenger hunt are a few of the fun suggestions. Occasionally, this company provides grants for schools and organizations that would like to start gardening programs. Here is a link to the website: https://kidsgardening.org/.
The Portland Nursery doesn’t have a section for kids per se’, but there are some great resources for specific garden projects. Some articles have tips for “attracting” particular creatures like hummingbirds and butterflies. Other reports have tips for installing and maintaining certain garden features like soil and lawn. Teenagers may have fun creating specific habitats that attract creatures that they love. They also have a great list of their “plant library” for families seeking out particular plants’ info. Here is the link to their website: https://portlandnursery.com/
National Garden Bureau-
This website is associated with the website I listed earlier, “kidsgardening.org.” They have the same top 10 activities listed for kids. But the website is worth mentioning because their info about plants and gardening is incredibly extensive. They also sell products like gardening books, gardening tools, and gardening décor. One of the most extraordinary items I saw on there was a “Pollinator Hotel.” It is supposed to go near where you plant pollinating flowers. Their “education” section is impressive. There are books, videos, podcasts, and even a free “beginning gardener” course. Here is a link to their website: https://ngb.org/.
Growing a Jeweled Rose-
This website has some charming ideas. There are over 50 suggestions for fun gardening activities like growing a minion planter, making a mini greenhouse, or create a grass-growing pet. A lot to explore here! The website is also very cool because it has activities outside of gardening available, and they sort them by the season and age range. They also sell merchandise. One of the T-shirts I saw cracked me up. It read, “Science: Because making stuff up is not okay!” ha-ha. Here is a link to the gardening activities for kids portion of their website: https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/03/outdoor-nature-gardening-activities.html.
Scholastic has a small page of garden activities recommended for 6–7-year old’s, although I’m sure they would be appropriate for other ages. Activities like making a dandelion salad and setting up a backyard weather station are examples of the fun suggestions they provide. Here is a link to the page: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/kids-activities-and-printables/activities-for-kids/math-and-science-ideas/hands-gardening-and-nature-projects.html.
This website has an article that relays 60 fun gardening activities that kids can do with their families at home. They did a great job compiling a massive list from previous gardening ideas for kids posted online. Each idea has a link to click on to take you to the concept and all the things you need—a great resource. Here is a link to the article; it was just posted this year in January: https://growingfamily.co.uk/gardening-with-children/60-fun-garden-activities-for-kids-at-home/.
Hands-on as we Grow-
This website has a page that lists 12 gardening activities for kids. There is an extensive range of gardening suggestions from prepping the garden, caring for the garden, and fun garden activities. Each section has different ideas about the stage that the garden is in. Frozen time capsules, composting, and measuring projects are among the choices. Here is a link: https://handsonaswegrow.com/12-garden-activities-kids/.
Home and Garden Television website-
HGTV has some adorable ideas for fun garden activities. Some examples of their ideas include fairy gardens, ladybug hotels, and recycled bottle birdfeeders. Each suggestion has either a video attached or a how-to guide. The link to this excellent guide is here: https://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/kids-gardening-projects-pictures.
Bright Horizons has an article on “Teaching kids to garden: tips and activities.” Tips include ideas like visiting a farmer’s market, using the right tools, and starting small. There are also some excellent links to further knowledge on gardening with kiddos. Here is the link: https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/gardening-with-children.
The list of online options for gardening info for kids seems to go on and on! I guess what you research will depend on what you want to know. Whether you are shopping for gardening supplies, hunting for easy projects, or seeking information: there is a ton of tips and resources out there. If you want just to grab a gardening kit for kids, Amazon has some cute choices. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/gardening-kits-kids/s?k=gardening+kits+for+kids. If your local gardening stores are open, they would also be a great resource and could probably use some support due to the pandemic. If you work in education, seek out info on local gardening resources for schools. It seems many of the local gardening venues I found enjoy partnering with schools to teach kids the benefits of gardening. Gardening isn’t just about gardening itself: it’s a ticket to families being able to learn about plants and how to enjoy the many benefits of healthy food. Best of luck to you all in expanding your family’s knowledge about this important and beneficial subject.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.