In this digital world that we live in it can be so beneficial for our mental health to take a step back, pause, and spend some time in nature. This is especially true for our kids, who are growing up in a fast-paced technological society. While the pandemic provided an opportunity to spend more time at home, home also houses many delicious distractions like iPads, binge-worthy TV shows, and video games. Setting up a garden activity is the perfect way to get the kids outdoors and engaged with a mindful activity. So, buckle up and read on to be inspired to host the best gardening with kids play date.
Gardening Activity Essentials
Whether it is a play date or a birthday party, you can never go wrong with gift bags. Aside from being beautiful party favors, they are an essential organizing tool that will help you put your best foot forward and ensure your gardening with kids activity runs smoothly (or as smooth as it can with kids).
Create plant bags for each child filled with all the tools they need to create their miniature container garden. The bag should include the following:
- Plant tags – These will help your kids remember their plant names. They can write on them and place them next to the correct plant.
- Garden tools– We chose a narrow transplanter, but don’t stress the details. The important part is to have a tool the children can use to scoop up the dirt.
- Garden gloves– To keep your children’s hands clean so they don’t have to hold back from the fun of getting their hands deep into the dirt while placing the plants.
- Garden Hat– The sun is a friend, but it is important to stay protected and cool.
- Sunscreen– A gardening best practice. No sunburns after this gardening activity!
Additionally, you’ll need these essentials to prep the garden activity:
- Mat– if you are working on a patio, make sure to lay down a mat. Expect things to get messy and you won’t be stressed about cleanup. Just pull the mat together and boom, dirt gone!
- Watering can– Every plant needs water. This will be an opportunity to teach the children about watering plants and how to get the dirt moist in preparation for the new plants.
- Colorful planters– We chose the Juno, the perfect size for a miniature garden. Keep in mind that the planter should be small enough for the children, but large enough to hold all their plants and decorations.
- Plants – The stars of the show, don’t forget the plants! Swing by your favorite plant store and pick up some colorful plants and shrubbery to fill the planter.
- Decorations – Include some traditional plant decorations like pebbles and sand, but don’t feel limited. With kids, the sky’s the limit. We included some clay lighthouses and wired plant décor whose lively colors are perfect for a fairy garden. What pixie wouldn’t want to live there? These will add the finishing touches to their miniature garden, allowing their personality to shine.
Road Map for the Activity
- Gear Up: Make sure the kids put on their sunscreen, hat, and garden gloves.
- Use your garden tool to fill the planter with dirt.
- Ask your kids to select the plants they would like to include. Help them pot up their containers, teaching them about container gardening along the way. Invite them to plant plants that have similar light and watering requirements in the same container but give them the freedom to explore and mold their own miniature garden.
- Use the watering cans to water the containers, until the soil is moist. Not too much so as to avoid overwatering.
- Decorating time! Encourage your kids to unleash their creativity and think outside the box. For example, ask them to line the path to the lighthouse with pebbles so the fairies can always find their way home. Remind them that what makes a fairy garden whimsical is a combination of vibrant colors and textures that would attract the eye of any fairy. Let them tell their own story with their miniature garden decorations.
- Have the children label and place their plant tags. Plant tags are great for labelling plant types, watering instructions, or even kids’ names to make sure they take home the right miniature garden.
- Be sure to take a picture of the masterpiece they have created! This will also be a wonderful starting point that the kids can return to when they want to compare their plant’s growth.
Just remember, this is meant to be fun! Mistakes are part of the learning process and thankfully gardening has a low margin of error. Be sure to remind the kids to breathe in the fresh air, observe the living plants they have just become parents to, and lose themselves in the present. And of course, leave them with the ultimate lesson of gardening: like all things, with proper care and attention, they will see their plants grow. Encourage them to continue checking up on their plants and enjoy the fruits of their labor.