Gardening 25 Kids Activities via Lessons Learnt Journal

This post is sponsored by Toyota for National Tree Day.

Five years ago, the closest I got to this thing called “gardening” was watching it on TV. Somehow, somewhere along the way, after having kids, I became a gardening convert. I’ve got loads to learn still, but I really can say, I love gardening and wish I had more time for it. Why am I a gardening convert? Put simply – everyone should garden because having plants around you is good for you.

Toyota understands this and have partnered with Planet Ark to help individuals, families and schools reconnect with nature by getting out into nature and having fun in their local environment.

Planet Ark’s Valuing Trees: What is Nature Worth? report focuses on the value of nature. It explores the financial, environmental, social, and health and wellbeing benefits of having trees, plants and other natural elements in the workplace, at home, in the community and at school. It found that “…having plants in and around the workplace and classroom helps reduce sick leave and stress; boosts productivity and creativity; and filters and cleans the air.”

Gardening 25 Kids Activities 03 Lessons Learnt Journal

Getting children involved in gardening not only provides plants around them, which is good for their health, it also gives children an important opportunity to learn through active participation and experience. Gardening allows children to investigate, experiment, manipulate, contemplate, problem solve and succeed.

Children love to grow things.

Gardening 25 Kids Activities 04 Lessons Learnt Journal

Just a year ago, I started gardening with my children. Since then, we have:

Gardening with kids is a hands-on way to promote environmental and sustainability learning and connect children with healthy food and lifestyles. As my children have gardened, I have seen them adopt caring attitudes and values and demonstrate and apply a range of skills. 

Gardening 25 Kids Activities 06 Lessons Learnt Journal

Every child can garden. Here are 25 ways to get kids gardening:

Prepare a Garden Bed:

  1. Mark out garden beds – Using pegs and string to mark out your garden bed.
  2. Clear the surface – Where possible pull weeds by hand.
  3. Loosen the soil surface – Break up the topsoil (about 20cms) to help aerate it.
  4. Add organic matter – Add compost or manure thickly over the surface. Five to 10cms is really good covering.
  5. Mix the organic matter with the soil – Using a fork or spade, gently mix the organic matter with the loosened soil surface.
  6. Leave the garden bed to settle – A great time to release some earthworms into the garden. Leave the garden to settle for at least two weeks.
  7. While the garden bed is settling – grow your seedlings; place boarders around your garden beds; place straw on pathways to suppress weeds.
  8. When your garden bed is ready for planting – remove any large weeds; rake the soil surface; measure out the areas where each plant will be planted and mark them with pegs and string. 

Direct Sowing Seeds:

  1. Moisten soil – Soaking the soil two days before planting is most helpful for new seeds.
  2. Mark out rows – Using any long narrow stick, lie it along the garden bed where you wish to plant the row. Press the stick gently into the soil to create furrows to plant the seeds.
  3. Place seeds in the furrow –  If the seeds are very small or fine, you can first mix the seed into a handful of sand and spread the seed/sand mix thinly along the furrow.
  4. Cover the seed – Make sure the seed is buried to the right depth.
  5. Water the seed – Use a fine mist spray.
  6. Keep bed moist – During germination the soil should  not be allowed to dry out.
  7. Thin out plants – Once the new plants have merged you may need to thin out the number of plants.

Transplant Seedlings:

  1. Before planting – water the seedlings to be transplanted the day before planting. Make sure the soil in the garden bed is moist for planting.
  2. Planting out – Mark where each seedling will be planted with a planting stick. Tip your punnet of seedlings upside down holding your hand over the top of the pun net to catch the seedlings. Gently tap the bottom of the punnet with your other hand until the seedlings and soil become loose from the punnet in one complete block. Be careful not to damage the fragile roots of the seedlings. Don’t plant too deeply.
  3. Water the seedlings immediately. Don’t let the soil dry out.
  4. Lay some organic mulch around the seedlings as soon as they are planted to keep the soil moist.

Container Gardens:

Growing plants in pots has been my favourite way to garden with my kids. It’s easier to weed, they are movable and because we can use quality potting mix, we aren’t limited to growing only those plants that will thrive in our (poor) garden soil.

There are many different types of pots for growing plants:

  1. Hanging baskets
  2. Terracotta pots
  3. Planter boxes
  4. Fabric bags
  5. Wall pouches
  6. Recycled materials – like old tyres, or eggshells.
Everyone can garden. Everyone should garden because having plants around you is good for you.
Toyota and Planet Ark, have created wonderful resources and initiatives for individuals, families and schools to reconnect with nature.
Each year, around 2500 preschools, kindies, primary and high schools across Australia take part in Toyota and Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day. Kids learn how to plant and care for the seedlings they grow. Check out the National Tree Day website for more fun ideas to get kids gardening throughout the year. Mums and Dads, you’ll find everything you need there to bring Tree Day home. Teachers, there are great lesson plans, learning resources and activity guides to connect kids with nature.
I saw National Tree Day in action at a school this year and was absolutely blown away by how much the children benefited from the event. They saw adults who were passionate about the environment and they had the opportunity to get outside and garden.
Schools Tree Day is on the last Friday of July each year, although events can be held at any time during the year. Each year, over 3000 people run Tree Day plantings as part of a nationwide project to help send a message that the environment matters. Toyota in partnership with Planet Ark offers planting resources and support to site co-ordinators. Schools can also post requests for assistance with labour and tools. 
This year, my children’s school was fortunate to receive support for Schools Tree Day from their local Toyota dealership with a donation of $200 towards purchase of plants. Some Toyota personnel joined Year 2/3 on Schools Tree Day to assist with planting. It’s as easy as registering your school for Schools Tree Day via the National Tree Day website, and getting in touch with your local Toyota dealership.

(If you’re reading this post in an email, click here to see some really fun activities from 2014’s School’s Tree Day. Yep – that’s me, nodding my head like a silly woman on way too much caffeine lol).
I saw this fun activity during School’s Tree day and loved it! To get kids excited about gardening, they each brought a seedling home to plant in their own gardens. They planted some parsley in an ice-cream cone so that it could be transported home and planted straight into their garden; ice-cream cone and all. The ice-cream cone will simply break up after awhile once the seedling has been planted. So frugal, simple and fun!
Gardening 25 Kids Activities 02 Lessons Learnt Journal
I still have loads of gardening projects I want to try. Do you have a tried, tested and loved kids gardening activity?
K: 2 years, 10 months
E: 4 years 2 months
N&M: 6 years 3 months
September 2014
Activities for Children Life With Kids Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

Tagged with →