Nature Garden Activities for Kids

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                                      Plant a family flag flower bed.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Plant a family flag flower bed.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Discover the mysteries hidden in seeds, flowers, and plants with these great nature garden activities for kids. From a tiny seed an enormous tree or a gorgeous flower can grow. Show your kids how it happens!

Try some of these gardening activities to grow flowers of your own and use them to make lovely art projects. Or turn your family garden into a fun place for kids to play by growing a bean tent or a pumpkin tunnel.

Follow the links below to find fun, educational nature garden activities for kids the whole family can enjoy. Let's get growing!

Box Garden

Turn an empty grocer's crate into a mini vegetable garden.

Garden of Good Scents

Plant a garden of flowers, herbs, and sweet-smelling plants to delight the senses.

Root View Box

Watch how plants grow up out of the soil and into the ground.

Onion or Garlic Braids

Create a decorative braid of onion or garlic bulbs to hang in the kitchen.

Carrot Basket

Make a mini hanging plant basket out of a cored carrot or parsnip.

Grow Carrots

Learn how you can use carrot tops to sprout your very own carrot garden.

Bean Tent

Grow a shady summer playhouse out of beanstalks.

Pumpkin Tunnel

Construct an arched play tunnel from climbing pumpkin plants and mesh.

Vegetable Planting Chart

Learn the planting and growing seasons of your favorite garden crops.

Grow a Pizza

Grow a garden full of tomatoes, veggies, and herbs to top your homemade pizzas.

Beanstalk Village

Create a fantasy garden village for your kids' plastic play figures.

Family Flag Flower Bed

Plant flowers in the design of your family crest or the American flag.

Seed Collection

Learn how to collect and save tiny treasures from flowers, berries, and trees.

Seed Bank

Grow plants from soil collected at the forest, meadow, or any natural area.

Keep reading to learn how your kids can grow tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and more -- all in an empty wooden fruit crate.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Box Garden for Kids

Turn a wooden fruit crate into a miniature box garden for kids. In the winter, fruit shipped from places like South America often comes in wooden crates. Ask your grocer to save one for you.

What You'll Need:

  • Wooden fruit crate
  • Newspaper
  • Potting soil
  • Garden soil or compost
  • Water
  • Vegetable seeds (leaf lettuce, ball carrots, radishes, and miniature bush tomatoes)

How to Make a Box Garden: Step 1: Line the wooden crate with four or five layers of newspaper. Fill with a mixture of half potting soil and half garden soil or compost. Step 2: Water the soil and allow the box to drain. Step 3: Make two long furrows the length of the box, one near the front, the other right down the middle. Step 4: Divide the front row in half. In one half sprinkle seeds for miniature carrots. In the other half sprinkle radish seeds. In the middle row, sprinkle leaf lettuce seeds. Plant the seeds thinly.Step 5: The back half of the box is for your bush tomatoes. Poke a hole about one-half inch deep and drop two or three tomato seeds in it. Cover the seeds. Step 6: When they sprout wait until they are about two inches tall, then cut away the weaker plants, leaving one strong one.Step 7: Keep the box outside in a sunny place and water it every day. Thin the plants if they need it.

Step 8: Pull the carrots when they are about one inch across. Cut the lettuce when the leaves are about six to eight inches tall.

Keep reading to learn how to create a sweet-smelling garden of good scents in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Garden of Good Scents for Kids

A garden of good scents is full of sweet-smelling plants that delight the nose and the eyes. Here is an enjoyable activity for kids.

Some plants that release scents when touched are Sweet Alyssum, Heliotrope, Nasturtium, Scented Geraniums, Basil, English Violets, Lavender, Pinks, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano.

What You'll Need:

  • Patch of sunny ground about five feet wide and six feet long
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Bagged compost
  • Bagged bark mulch
  • Plants
  • Hose
  • Small sprinkler
  • Cardboard
  • Safe scissors
  • Marker

How to Make a Garden of Good Scents:

Step 1: Choose a garden spot and prepare the soil by pulling weeds and digging up soil until it crumbles. Spread a one-inch layer of bagged compost over the soil and mix it in.

Step 2: Then, make two paths by pressing down a one-foot wide strip of soil down the middle of the garden and a second one going across. Cover the paths with bark mulch about two inches deep.

Step 3: Buy your plants or seeds at a garden center. Set the plants out and arrange them the way you wish. Use the labels in the pots to help you decide where to place them. Sow seeds according to the directions on the package.

Step 4: When everything is planted, run a sprinkler about a half an hour. Water deeply twice a week during dry weather and pull out weeds often.

Step 5: When your garden is ready, make a sign that says "Please Touch the Plants!" Then invite friends inside and compare notes on nature's sweet perfumes!

Want to see how plants grow? Give your kids a close-up look with a root view box next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Root View Box for Kids

Use this special root view box to watch how roots grow. Your kids will be amazed to learn that plants grow two ways -- up out of the soil and down into the ground. Here are directions for a root view box for kids.

What You'll Need:

  • Half-gallon milk carton
  • Scissors
  • Sheet of glass
  • Clear acrylic, or stiff clear plastic packaging
  • Craft glue or tape
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds of vegetables with large roots
  • Pan or tray
  • Cardboard

How to Make a Root View Box:

Step 1: Cut off the top of the milk carton and punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Cut a window in the side, leaving a 1/2-inch margin all the way around the window.

Step 2: Cut a sheet of glass or clear acrylic to fit the window inside the box. Another option is to check all the plastic packaging that is thrown away in your house for a piece of stiff, clear plastic that will fit the window.

Step 3: Glue or tape the plastic to the inside of box. Let it dry completely.

Step 4: Now fill the box with potting soil. Plant seeds of carrots, radishes, or other root vegetables right up against the side of the box where the window is.

Step 5: Set the carton on a pan or tray to catch extra water, then water the seeds well.

Step 6: Put a bit of cardboard under the bottom of the box on the side opposite the window. This will tilt the box slightly, so the roots will grow right up against the window.

Step 7: Check the plant's growth to see how the roots are developing. Be sure to give your plants enough water and light.

If you want to do this as a science-fair project, be sure to plant the seeds at least eight weeks ahead of time.

Have a garden of ripe onions or garlic? Learn how to braid them into a beautiful kitchen craft in the next section of nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Onion or Garlic Braids for Kids

Get your kids out to garden to harvest onion and garlic bulbs and make them into onion or garlic braids. This beautiful nature garden craft for kids is a great decoration for the kitchen or gift for your favorite cook!

What You'll Need:

  • Onions or garlic with tops intact
  • Newspaper
  • String

How to Make Onion or Garlic Braids:Step 1: Begin with whole, undamaged onions or garlic. If you dig them from your garden be sure to clean off as much dirt as you can. Do not cut off the tops because you will need these to braid. Step 2: Lay the onions or garlic out on newspapers in a cool, dry, sheltered place until the tops are dry.Step 3: When they are ready, take three of your onions and braid the tops together for a few inches. Step 4: Lay two more onions alongside right where the braid stops, separate their tops into the three strands you are braiding, and braid for another few inches. Step 5: Add two more onions, and keep going. When you have about two feet of onions in your braid, stop adding onions. Step 6: Braid the remainder of the tops together and tie the braid off with string. Loop the braid over onto itself and tie the loop with more string. Step 7: Hang the braid in the kitchen, preferably from a hook on the ceiling, where air will circulate around the onions.

Make a garlic braid the same way, but leave only an inch or two between the bulbs. Garlic bulbs are much smaller than onions so they can be laid closer together.

Keep reading to learn how to make a sprouting hanging basket from a hollowed carrot or parsnip in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Carrot Basket for Kids

Make a hanging carrot basket for kids that would make any rabbit jealous!

For this project, take your kids to the market and look for a novelty type carrot that's at least two inches in diameter and still has its top. If you can't find one, use a parsnip or other thick root vegetable with the top still on.

What You'll Need:

  • Large carrot (at least two inches across) or parsnip
  • Apple corer
  • Toothpick
  • String
  • Potting soil
  • Grass seed

How to Make a Carrot Basket:

Step 1: Cut off the bottom of your vegetable, leaving the top three inches with the leaves.

Step 2: Next cut off the foliage, leaving about two inches of leafy stem. Use an apple corer to hollow out the vegetable top. (Turned upside-down, the vegetable top makes a basket.)

Step 3: With toothpicks, poke four evenly spaced holes around the cut edge of the basket. Cut four pieces of string about two feet long and tie one in each of the holes. Tie the strings together at the top.

Step 4: Fill the basket with potting soil and plant grass seed on top. Hang your basket up.

Step 5: If you keep the soil moist, it will sprout grass on top, while the vegetable tops will grow again, curling around the basket as they reach up for the sun.

If you want, you can plant alfalfa seeds or the seeds of small flowers in your basket.

Keep reading to learn how you can start your own carrot garden from leftover carrot tops next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Grow Carrots for Kids

It's fun for kids to grow carrots -- and even more fun to eat them!

What You'll Need:

  • Carrots
  • Knife
  • Flat dishes or deep saucers
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • Potting soil

How to Grow Carrots:Step 1: Start with carrots that have leafy tops. Cut off the tops, leaving about two inches of greens. Step 2: Cut off the top inch of the carrot, and plant it in potting soil or fine pebbles in a dish. Leave the greens above the surface. Keep the soil barely moist. Step 3: If using pebbles, add fresh water every other day. When the carrots begin to sprout new leaves, plant in soil in a flower pot.

When you think of building materials, beans may not be the first things that come to mind -- until you read the nature garden activity for kids on the next page of nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Bean Tent for Kids

Bean tent for kids is an exciting nature garden activity for kids that lets your family grow a summer playhouse in your very own garden.

What You'll Need:

  • Garden space
  • Bean seeds
  • Poles at least six feet long
  • String

How to Make a Bean Tent:

Step 1: Start with a sunny patch of garden space about four or five feet wide. Rake the soil smooth, then mark a circle with a diameter of about three or four feet.

Step 2: Help kids stick poles into the soil all around the circle, about a foot apart, and tie them together at the top.

Step 3: Tie a string to the base of one of the poles. Run the string around all the poles, looping it once or twice around each one. Leave a space between two poles as your doorway.

Step 4: Run more string from the top of the poles to the string at the bottom, leaving about four or six inches of space between the strings. Plant your bean seeds all around the circle. Water them well after planting.

Step 5: Water the seeds twice a week or as needed while the beans grow. Help the young bean plants find your tent poles and strings so they can grow up them.

Soon your kids will have a shady tent to play in!

If you've mastered the bean tent, try to grow the more challenging pumpkin tunnel in the next section of nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Pumpkin Tunnel for Kids

A pumpkin tunnel for kids will make your kids look at pumpkins in a whole new way. These gorgeous garden gourds aren't just for Halloween!

To build your tunnel, you'll need a sunny area of the garden about five feet wide.

What You'll Need:

  • Garden space
  • Heavy concrete reinforcement mesh or 11 poles about five feet long
  • Pumpkin seeds

How to Make a Pumpkin Tunnel with Mesh:Step 1: A parent or adult should cut the mesh into a piece about five feet wide and six feet long. Shape it into an arch, pushing the ends of the wire on the five-foot long sides into the soil. Step 2: Plant pumpkin, gourd, or cucumber seeds along the sides, or use transplants. As the plants grow, they will cover the mesh and make a nice tunnel to play in.How to Make a Pumpkin Tunnel with Poles:If concrete mesh is hard to find, you can make your tunnel from poles.Step 1: Stick five poles in the ground one foot apart, then make another line of poles three feet away. Tie the tops to a cross pole to form the shape of a tunnel. Step 2: Plant your seeds at the base of each pole. As the plants grow, you may want to tie them to the poles with strips of rag to help them climb.Cover the floor of your tunnel with grass clippings or straw for comfort.

Do you know the right time to plant your kids' favorite veggies? Make a vegetable planting chart in the next section of nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Vegetable Planting Chart for Kids

A vegetable planting chart for kids will help your children learn that different vegetables have different growing seasons. It's the perfect way to start your own family vegetable plot, or a great gift for someone who likes to garden.

What You'll Need:

  • Gardening book
  • Poster board
  • Markers

How to Make a Vegetable Planting Chart:Step 1: Find out what vegetables grow in your area, and what time of year each vegetable should be planted. (Check the library for books and magazines on vegetable gardening, or ask a gardener or farmer you know.) Step 2: Make a chart that shows each vegetable, when to plant it, and when to harvest it. Your chart could also give other information, such as how much to water to give it and what pests to watch out for. Keep reading to learn how to grow all the ingredients for a great homemade pizza next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Grow a Pizza for Kids

In this fun nature garden activity, your kids will grow a pizza garden of fresh ingredients. Of course, growing your own pizza takes a little longer than having it delivered, but it can be worth the wait. When you're hungry for pizza, you can get one without ordering out.

What You'll Need:

  • Plants that grow pizza ingredients (tomatoes, green peppers, onions, herbs)
  • A garden plot or large pots

How to Grow a Pizza:Step 1: What veggies do your kids like on their pizza? Grow them from seeds or seedlings starting in the spring, and plan a home-grown pizza party sometime in the summer. Step 2: In addition to tomatoes, green peppers, and other pizza veggies, you can grow herbs for your pizza. Basil and oregano are the most commonly used. You might also try chives, rosemary, or other herbs. They're all easy to grow in small pots or in a garden.Step 3: When your pizza garden is ready, all you'll need is a pizza crust, some cheese, and a few hungry friends.

Keep reading to learn how to plant a fantasy beanstalk village for your kids' favorite action figures and dolls next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Beanstalk Village for Kids

Create a beanstalk village.
Create a beanstalk village.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Create a beanstalk village for Jack (or Joan or Jim or Judy) with this fun nature garden activity. Your kids will experience the magic of watching their beanstalks grow in a fantasy garden plot complete with little plastic figures!

What You'll Need:

  • Garden spot
  • Three equal-length dowel rods or branches
  • Pole bean seeds
  • Water
  • Plastic villagers or army men

How to Make a Beanstalk Village:

The next time you plant pole beans (the "reach for the stars" vines that crawl way up stakes and fences), set up a tiny village too.

Step 1: Arrange plastic people at the base of the plant and the pole you stake down for it to climb.

Step 2: Before you know it, your fantasy folk will be settled around a gigantic adventure. You'll grow your imagination along with those beans.

Ready to plant some more colorful blooms? Design your own family flag flower bed in the next section of nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Family Flag Flower Bed for Kids

Plant a family flag flower bed.
Plant a family flag flower bed.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

A family flag flower bed for kids will bring your family's colors to life -- in full bloom! Does your family have its own crest? If not, maybe it's time you made one.

If you can't think of a family flag, plant a design like the good old Stars and Stripes of the American flag and watch your neighbors grin.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens
  • Garden spot
  • Gardening tools
  • Colorful bedding plants (petunias work well)

How to Make a Family Flag Flower Bed:

Step 1: Design a family symbol or flag on paper. Make it simple but unique to your "clan."

Step 2: Plant colorful bedding plants with that design in a big, easy-to-see flower bed.

Keep reading to learn how your kids can start a seed collection from their favorite flowers, trees, and fruits next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Seed Collection for Kids

In this nature garden activity for kids, your children will start a seed collection. What a neat way to discover nature's tiny treasures!

What You'll Need:

  • Envelopes or clear film canisters
  • Seeds
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Paper (optional)
  • Pen (optional)

How to Make a Seed Collection:

Before you begin, decide how you want to organize your collection. Clear plastic film canisters are useful for storing seeds; they are waterproof and you can see the seeds. Ask for them at any store that develops film.

You can also store seeds in paper envelopes, which can be kept in a shoebox.

Step 1: Collect seeds in late summer and fall. Watch for wild fruits to ripen. Remove the seeds from the fruits and let them dry on newspaper before storing them.

Step 2: Watch for maple seeds to drop. Oaks will drop acorns in the fall. These are seeds, too. Let pine cones dry indoors, then pull out the scales and look for seeds.

Step 3: As flowers finish blooming, leave some on the plant so you can collect the seeds they make.

Step 4: To collect weed seeds, wear socks over your shoes and walk through weeds or a meadow. Look at the seeds stuck to your socks! Make sure the seeds are dry before you store them, or they will mold.

Step 5: Put each kind of seed in a different container. If you want to make a seed display, glue different kinds of seeds to cardboard and make a paper label for each.

Keep reading to learn how to collect soil and grow your own garden from nature's seed banks next in nature garden activities for kids.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

Seed Bank for Kids

Plants save for a rainy day by putting their seeds in seed banks. Seeds that fall to the ground don't grow right away. They wait until conditions are right. In this activity, kids will learn how to grow plants from a seed bank all by themselves!

What You'll Need:

  • Clean soil
  • Trowel
  • Aluminum baking pan
  • Water
  • Plastic wrap

How to Make a Seed Bank:

Step 1: Collect soil from any natural area (such as a dark forest or under a shrub) that hasn't had herbicides or pesticides applied to it.

Step 2: Scrape away any decaying plant material and dig enough soil to fill your pan one-half to one inch deep.

Step 3: Water the soil so that it is moist but not soggy. Cover the pan with plastic wrap to keep it moist and warm. Set in a warm place and wait.

Step 4: After about a week, young plants will be growing. Where do they come from? They sprouted from seeds already in the soil. This is what we call a seed bank.

Step 5: Try this with soil from various places. How is the seed bank in a forest different from the seed bank in a meadow? Try garden soil too.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Garden of Good Scents by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Beanstalk Village by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Family Flag Flower Bed by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Seed Collection by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Seed Bank by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls