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Garden Activities for Preschoolers

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Whether you’re a preschool teacher or a parent of a preschooler, all kids can benefit from learning about plants! As the weather warms, and the garden takes root, kids are turning into little green thumbs, eagerly digging in the dirt (except for the few who are meticulous about clean hands).

garden activities for preschoolers

In fact, our youngest gardener seems to have a knack for unearthing whatever I’ve planted just as it sprouts a hint of green (poor geranium bulb, you didn’t stand a chance). So why not harness that youthful enthusiasm and put those eager hands to work planting seeds?

Planting seeds and witnessing them transform into thriving plants is an incredible way to introduce children to the everyday miracles of nature. Even if you don’t have a sprawling garden, there are numerous activities that can help preschoolers and kids of all ages understand the magic of plant growth. 

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And these activities aren’t limited to preschoolers and young elementary kids; older children with a budding interest in gardening can cultivate their gardens, whether in pots or a small corner of the yard. 

We even have a local Boy Scout who tends a substantial patch of okra and sells it to a nearby grocery store – talk about an enterprising young gardener! Encouraging your children’s curiosity about growing and nurturing plants is a valuable lesson, and even if the plants don’t thrive, there’s a lesson in that too!

So, how can you foster the love of growing right in your own home or classroom? Let’s explore these exciting activities centered around seeds, which you can adjust to be as simple or in-depth as you like.

Hands-on Preschool Gardening Activities

Water Bottle Planter: Cultivating Green Thumbs and Environmental Awareness

This activity is a two-in-one lesson, teaching both recycling and the art of seed growth. It’s a win-win! Teaching kids the importance of reusing items, which is even more environmentally friendly than recycling, is a valuable lesson. You can find step-by-step instructions for creating these planters at Giggles Galore. The beauty of this activity is that you can make it as elaborate as you wish, allowing kids to unleash their creativity.

recycled water bottle

Grass Sponge House: A Mess-Free Seed Activity

For those kids who prefer to keep their hands clean, this seed activity is a perfect choice—no dirt required! That might sound perplexing, but fast-growing grass seeds can actually sprout without soil. Fab Art DIY offers a clever solution by using kitchen sponges shaped like a house. 

Once assembled, sprinkle the seeds on the wet sponges, keep them moist, and voila! A grass house grows. This activity could also serve as an excellent starting point for discussing historical sod houses, making it both fun and educational!

grass sponge house

Garden in a Glove: Exploring the Diversity of Seeds

What’s more captivating than watching seeds sprout? Watching different types of seeds grow! This activity allows you to compare the germination times and appearances of various seeds. There’s a remarkable difference between a bean seed sprouting and a carrot seed, and your kids will relish making these comparisons. Full Circle Gardener has easy-to-follow directions for this engaging project.

garden in a glove

DIY Chia Pets: Crafting and Cultivating

Doodle Craft presents a fantastic project that’s as simple as filling some pantyhose or tights with soil and grass seeds, then watching them grow. We recently tried this craft at Vacation Bible School, and it was a massive hit with the kids. Adding googly eyes, feathers, and other fun items adds a whimsical touch to your kids’ creations. This activity is truly a winner, with endless creative possibilities.

trimmed chia pets

Hanging Water Jug Planters: Cultivate and Recycle

For older kids interested in seeing their seeds flourish and harvesting some fruit, Bonzai Aphrodite offers a comprehensive tutorial on creating hanging water jug planters. Once again, this activity combines seed growth with reusing household items, contributing to a sustainable lifestyle. Who knows, it might even evolve into a thriving tomato-growing venture on your porch!

Encourage your children to roll up their sleeves and delve into the world of gardening. Life, after all, sprouts from seeds, and what better way to demonstrate this miracle to your children than through these simple yet captivating activities? We’d love to hear about your experiences with these projects. Keep on growing and happy gardening!

As you embark on these garden-themed adventures with your little ones, you’ll discover that they not only provide great entertainment but also offer a myriad of educational benefits. Gardening activities can enhance fine motor skills, spark an interest in the natural world, and introduce children to the wonders of the ecosystem right in their own backyard.

water jug planters

Exploring the Natural World Through Gardening Activities

Gardening with young children is a great way to immerse them in the natural world. It helps them develop an appreciation for the environment, fosters a sense of responsibility, and teaches them about the interconnectedness of living organisms. Whether you have a sprawling garden or just a small outdoor space, there are plenty of fun garden activities that can engage kids of all ages.

Mini Gardens and Fairy Gardens: Encouraging Creativity

Creating mini gardens or fairy gardens is a fantastic way to ignite children’s creativity. Provide them with small pots, soil, and a variety of miniature plants and accessories. Let their imaginations run wild as they design their tiny worlds. These miniature gardens not only teach kids about gardening but also allow them to express their artistic side.

Bird Feeders and Bug Houses: Welcoming Wildlife

Teaching kids to build bird feeders and bug houses is a great opportunity to connect with nature. These projects not only educate children about different species but also instill a sense of responsibility for caring for the environment. Observing birds and insects in their own backyard can be a source of wonder and learning for young minds. See my full post on Fun DIY Bird Feeders to Make at Home or School

DIY Bird feeder

Sensory Bins and Sensory Exploration: Engaging the Senses

Sensory bins filled with items like sand, water, seeds, and various textures provide a sensory experience that engages young children’s senses. Incorporating seeds into these bins can help kids explore different textures and shapes. Add magnifying glasses to encourage closer observation and spark their curiosity about the natural world.

Seed Bombs: A Blend of Art and Gardening

Seed bombs are a creative way to introduce kids to the concept of guerrilla gardening. These small balls of clay, soil, and seeds can be tossed into vacant lots or neglected areas to promote wildflower growth. It’s a hands-on way to teach children about the importance of biodiversity and caring for the environment. Find instructions for seed bombs in my post 10 Fun Gardening Activities for Kids.

Vegetable and Edible Plant Gardens: Learning About Food Sources

Planting a vegetable or edible plant garden is an excellent way to teach kids where their food comes from. Involve them in growing vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, or even romaine lettuce. They’ll learn about the entire process, from planting seeds to harvesting and preparing their own meals with the produce they’ve grown. See my full post about Edible Gardens for Preschoolers.

Nature Walks and Scavenger Hunts: Exploring Outdoor Spaces

Take your children on nature walks to explore the outdoors. Create scavenger hunt lists that include items like different types of seeds, flowers, leaves, and small objects found in nature. This encourages them to observe their surroundings, learn about local flora and fauna, and develop a deeper connection to the natural world.

Find Free Kids Gardening Printables here which have a scavenger hunt included!

Terrarium Kits: Miniature Ecosystems

Assemble terrarium kits with clear containers, soil, small plants, and decorative elements like pebbles or miniature figurines. Terrariums provide a hands-on way for kids to create their own mini ecosystems. They can observe the water cycle, learn about the importance of sunlight for plant growth, and witness how living organisms interact within a closed environment. It’s like having a tiny piece of nature right on their windowsill. This terrarium kit from Amazon is a perfect gift for any kid interested in plants or fun room decor!

terrarium kit

Obstacle Courses and Outdoor Adventures: Physical and Educational Fun

Combine physical activity with learning by designing obstacle courses or outdoor adventures with a gardening twist. Create challenges that involve tasks like planting seeds, identifying different parts of a plant, or even conducting a simple science experiment related to plants. It’s a great way to keep kids active while enhancing their understanding of the natural world.

Circle Time and Educational Activities: Learning in Groups

For preschool teachers or parents with young kids, incorporating gardening-themed activities into circle time can be highly effective. Use activity sheets to teach concepts like number recognition, plant parts, and the life cycle of plants. These activities not only make learning fun but also provide an opportunity for social interaction and teamwork.

Upcycled Crafts: Turning Trash into Garden Treasures

Teach kids about reducing waste by engaging them in upcycled gardening projects. For instance, you can create egg carton seed starters, transforming empty egg cartons into biodegradable pots for seedlings. This not only reduces food waste but also demonstrates the value of repurposing everyday items for a sustainable purpose.

Indoor Herb Gardens: Greening Your Home

Don’t let limited outdoor space deter you from gardening activities. Indoor herb gardens are a perfect way to introduce kids to growing their own plants while adding fresh herbs to your kitchen. They’ll learn about the needs of different herbs, from basil to rosemary, and develop new skills in caring for indoor plants.

Find instructions for creating a DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden, perfect for any home or class activity!

Playing Cards and Scoring Points: Gamifying Gardening

Turn gardening into a game by creating a gardening-themed card game where players earn points for tasks like planting seeds, identifying different plants, or completing gardening challenges. This gamification adds an element of competition and fun while reinforcing knowledge about the natural world.

Toilet Roll or Egg Carton Seed Starters: Eco-Friendly Planting

Toilet rolls can serve as eco-friendly seed starters. Cut them in half, fill them with soil, and plant seeds inside. As the seedlings grow, the cardboard can be planted directly in the ground, providing a biodegradable container for the young plants. This activity teaches kids about sustainable gardening practices.

Find instructions here for Egg Carton Seed Starters.

seedlings growing in a egg carton on a wooden table

Exploring Different Plants and Flowers: Diverse Garden Themes

Introduce kids to the world of botany by exploring different types of plants and flowers. Create themed gardens, such as a flower garden filled with vibrant blooms or a vegetable garden bursting with edible delights. Each garden theme offers a unique learning experience and a chance for children to appreciate the diversity of plant life.

Bright Colors and Flower Petals: Sensory Stimulation

Engage children’s senses further by incorporating colorful flowers and petals into sensory activities. Let them touch, smell, and observe the vibrant colors of various blooms. This sensory experience not only stimulates their senses but also deepens their connection to the beauty of the natural world.

Water-Based Glue and Creative Ideas: Crafting with Nature

Encourage creativity by using nature as inspiration for arts and crafts. Collect leaves, petals, and small objects from the garden and use water-based glue to create beautiful nature-inspired art. This activity combines artistic expression with an appreciation for the outdoors.

Learning About Different Seeds: Hands-On Exploration

Explore the fascinating world of seeds by presenting kids with a variety of seeds with different shapes, sizes, and textures. Use a magnifying glass to examine them closely and discuss how each seed transforms into a unique plant. This hands-on seed exploration fosters an understanding of plant diversity.

Outdoor Spaces and Year-Round Gardening: Embracing the Seasons

Gardening isn’t limited to the spring and summer. Embrace the changing seasons and teach kids about year-round gardening. Whether it’s planting bulbs in the fall for spring blooms or creating winter terrariums, there are garden-themed activities for every season.

Spending Quality Time: Creating Lasting Memories

As you embark on these exciting gardening adventures with your children, remember that the best things grow from seeds of curiosity and exploration. Encourage them to ask questions, get their hands dirty, and marvel at the wonders of the natural world. These fun and educational activities offer a simple way to instill a love for nature that will last a lifetime. So, enjoy the warmer weather and keep on growing!