garden ideas

Garden Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

KidsGardening is here to support our growing community of parents, educators, and gardeners as they think creatively about ideas to get kids gardening and ways to stay connected to nature. Whether you’re a newbie, experienced grower, or somewhere in between, below you will find links to kids garden activities, garden-based educational resources, gardening advice, and other helpful tips to inspire you to just keep growing.  


 

Families - Fun at Home

KidsGardening Activities: From kitchen scrap gardening to planting a rainbow, KidsGardening’s garden activity page spotlights our favorite garden projects. It includes indoor and outdoor options and many that can be done with common household items.

BackPocket Learning:  Life Lab has created a collection of easy activities that require minimal supplies to help engage kids in screen-free fun.  BackPocket Learning offers inspiration for family fun.

ChopChop: Teach kids the joy of cooking healthy foods. ChopChop offers a rich collection of family-friendly cooking resources and recipes. 

Growing Good Kids Book Awards: Looking for some good books to read at this time? The Junior Master Gardener Program and The American Horticultural Society have been awarding awesome garden-related children’s literature books since 2005 and include a list of outstanding classic books written prior to 2005.  Many are available both in print and digitally.

Shelburne Farms At-Home Activities for Young Learners: This page offers a collection of fun activity ideas and links compiled by Shelburne Farms for engaging family time at home.

Art in and from the Garden: The garden offers lots of inspiration for creating and engaging in art, another wonderful means of decreasing stress and anxiety.  Dig Art! Cultivating Creativity in the Garden from Cornell Garden Based Learning offers some structured art projects or you can also try an ephemeral art project (check out ideas from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.) 


 

Families - Learning at Home

Lesson to Grow By: Weekly garden-themed lessons and activities from KidsGardening for parents teaching at home, or for educators instructing via distance learning. These fun, engaging adventures are grouped around a monthly theme, featuring three hands-on activities for kids each week with supplemental suggested reading, videos, and more. Lessons to Grow By is aimed at learners in grades 3-5, but the activities can easily be adapted for younger or older audiences.

KidsGardening Lessons: Use our garden-based lesson page to find hands-on learning experiences to complement the worksheets and digital resources being sent home by many schools at this time. 

In the Weeds Video Series: Christine, a KidsGardening education specialist, demonstrates simple lesson plans from our curriculum books that can be easily replicated at home. (Also available on YouTube.) 

Gro More Good Learning Activities: This curriculum guide developed by Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in partnership with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation offers a set of 72, seasonally themed, hands-on lessons to get young kids learning outside. 

Journey North and Budburst: Journey North and Budburst both offer citizen science project platforms to track seasonal changes in plants and animals to encourage the development of observation skills and help youth connect with their environment. 

Cabot Pollinator Patch Program: Developed through a partnership between Cabot Cheese and KidsGardening, this fun pollinator patch program contains lots of fun and easy activities to teach your kids about pollinators and how important they are for our food systems. 


 

Teachers - At a Distance Instruction

Looking for exceptional digital resources to continue your students' learning? Here are a few you may want to pass along: 

Lesson to Grow By: Weekly garden-themed lessons and activities from KidsGardening that can easily be shared with parents for students learning at home. These fun, engaging adventures are grouped around a monthly theme, featuring three hands-on activities for kids each week with supplemental suggested reading, videos, and more. Lessons to Grow By is aimed at learners in grades 3-5, but the activities can easily be adapted for younger or older audiences.

JMG Virtual Learn, Grow, Eat & Go Pilot Program: Learn, Grow, Eat & Go is a research & evidence-based National Junior Master Gardener curriculum. It’s a 10 week/2 lessons per week school garden curriculum that has now been recreated as a virtual, video-based classroom specifically for elementary/intermediate students learning at a distance. Because it is brand-new, the entire virtual curriculum is being made available for FREE for teachers that sign up their class and provide brief weekly feedback for the national pilot.

KidsGardening Pollinator Journal: Download these handy journal pages for your students to learn more about pollinators and practice their observation skills.

School Garden Support Network COVID-19 Resources: Ideas and inspiration from school garden professionals around the country, this special SGSO COVID-19 Resource Page offers a database of distance teaching resources, an active online forum and weekly virtual gathering opportunities.

Mister Chris and Friends: A fun, family friendly series from Vermont PBS focused on music, learning and exploration including visits with Farmer Christine (KidsGardening’s own Christine Gall). 

Starting with Soil: From the Center for Ecoliteracy and Whole Kids Foundation, this app offers a fun and interactive way for elementary aged kids to explore plants and soil. 

Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide: A comprehensive guide from the Center for Ecoliteracy with videos and interactive graphics that explores how food systems and climate change are connected.

How Does it Grow?: True Food TV offers a collection of videos following the path of some of our favorite fruits and vegetables from farm to table. 


School and Community Gardeners  - Planting and Maintaining Gardens

Seven Ways to Nurture Healthy Soil: If circumstances will keep you from being able to regularly maintain your garden right now, these suggestions for putting your garden to bed for the season including mulching and planting a cover crop, might be the right option for you at this time. Although this article lists fall cover crops, spring and summer cover crops are also available. Check with your local Extension office to find out what type of planting would work best in your climate.

School Garden Support Organization Network: Connect with this learning community of school garden support professionals to share advice and best practices.

National Farm to School Network COVID-19 Resources: With a focus on food availability and accessibility, National Farm to School Network has put together an extensive list of resources related to food systems across the country.

FoodCorp COVID-19 Resources: FoodCorp volunteers from around the country have compiled a list of resources to provide guidance on a range of issues related to COVID-19. 

National Farm to School Network COVID-19 Resources: A collection of resources especially useful for food and nutrition staff at schools. 

Teaching in Nature's Classroom: Looking for some online professional development? Teaching in Nature's Classroom is a  free online course for educators presented by Rooted, Life Lab, and the Wisconsin School Garden Network starting on May 18th. Learn more and register.

Cooperative Gardens Commission: The Cooperative Gardens Commission is a newly launched grassroots effort to increase the collective power of community gardeners to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables across our country.  


 

Gardening Tips for Beginners

Our Gardening Basics Page offers many resources and we also have a section dedicated to Designing Gardens, but here are a few articles specifically tailored to new gardeners to get started with gardening for the first time: 

Indoor Seed Starting Q&A: All you need to know about starting seeds indoors. 

Transplanting and Direct Seeding: This article contains advice for planting seeds and seedlings in outdoor gardens. 

Consider Container Gardening: Container gardens are a great way to dive into gardening. All you need is something that will hold soil and has drainage holes. This article provides you with all the basic garden tips to get started. 

KidsGardening Growing Guides: Check out our instructions for growing common, kid-friendly garden plants.

Preparing the Soil: Soil is an important key to a healthy and successful garden experience. We provide some basic background for new gardeners.

Victory Garden Reinvented! Webinar Series: The Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program is offering a series of free webinars to share gardening best practices for planting food gardens.

 

 

 

Our mission is to create opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow through gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder.

We offer inspiration and support to educators and families by way of grants, original educational resources, and by cultivating a community of practice.