10 Fun Gardening Projects for Kids Who Love to Get Their Hands Dirty

succulent plants

There’s just something so endearing about watching your kids plant seeds, then water and nurture them into adulthood: It proves your little ones aren't just Tasmanian Devils, but growing into responsible individuals who can care for living things (watch out, getting a dog may be next on their list).

Since plants aren't always the most exciting activity on the planet (at least not when compared to their Xbox), if your kids need some additional enticement to start gardening, look no further than this list of ideas. From hardy "starter plants" that are hard to kill to pizza gardens, these tips and activities will cultivate their green thumbs in no time.

Gardening Projects for Kids

#6 has such a nice element of surprise!

 

Image via Handmade Charlotte

 

  • Start With Succulents

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    Let's be honest: Kids aren't always the most responsible sorts, so a plant that needs regular watering may not be the best idea. That's why succulents are great starter plants to introduce your kids to the joys of gardening, since they require little watering or care. Handmade Charlotte has more info and tips to get you started.

  • Use Plants for Natural Dyes

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    To amp up the excitement levels for gardening, show kids what they can do with plants besides eat them -- like create natural plant-based dye. Instructions from The Homestead Lady will show you the ropes; as for what to plant, consider the following: kale, chamomile, radish tops, borage flowers, grape hyacinth flowers, Rugosa rose petals.

    More from The Stir: 5 Houseplants Even YOU Can’t Kill (PHOTOS)

     

  • Pick Quick-Growing Plants

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    Since plants grow at a snail's pace, some kids can get impatient with the process and start thinking "What's the point?" While you can't provide immediate gratification, you can speed the process along by picking fast-growing plants -- particularly ones they can eat. "The fastest seed to harvest veggie is going to be the radish, often being able to plant at the start of the month and harvest by the end," says Craig Jenkins-Sutton, co-owner of Chicago-based garden shop Topiarius. "They are small and compact, easy to grow and are very pretty. However, they can be a little spicy, so if your child doesn't like the flavor, another great fast growing veggie are snow and snap peas. Many varieties will mature in as few as 50 days and the fruit can be harvested and eaten right in the garden."

  • Build Biodegradable Pots

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    These biodegradable seedling pots mean no more messy transplanting from pot to soil: your kids can just plant the pots! And they're insanely easy to make out of newspaper, according to Kari Cornell, author of The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book.

     

    More From The Stir: 8 Ways to Upcycle K-Cups Into Cool Kid Crafts (PHOTOS) 

  • Build a Raised Garden Bed

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    If your kids want a real garden -- not just a few pots or a patch of ground in your garden -- look no further than this easy raised garden bed made from cinderblocks. You'll need to do the heavy lifting, but the mom who created this did it with her 8-year-old, and she lays out plenty of steps the kids can handle. The outside squares make cute planters, too!

  • Plant Seed Bombs

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    It doesn't get more exciting for kids than a "seed bomb" -- a conglomeration of seeds (and plaster to keep them together). Kids can just toss in some forgotten corner of your yard, and within weeks a gorgeous cluster of flowers "explodes" in that spot. $17.99 @ Thames & Kosmos

  • Make Your Own Plant Baskets

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    One way to get kids even more excited about planting stuff is to have them make baskets out of the results ... to house more plants. These vine planter baskets are surprisingly sturdy and easy for kids to make. They can use them come harvest time, to bring in all their fresh veggies.

    More from The Stir: 10 Gardening Projects Your Kids Will Love

  • Make a Pizza Garden

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    Another way to pique kids' interest in plants is to create a garden around a certain theme ... like pizza. "Include all the veggies that are needed for that favorite kiddie comfort food: tomatoes, green peppers, basil, spinach, broccoli, oregano," suggests Jenkins-Sutton. "Make the garden round and place some round 'pepperoni' rocks to make it more fun."

    The real fun, however, will come when they can cook their first meal -- straight from their own garden.

  • Create a Fairy Garden

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    For fairy fans out there, planting doesn't get better than a fairy garden -- and all you need is a pot or terrarium, some tiny plants to pose as "trees" and "shrubs," and a few fairy accessories like a miniature house or benches to spark their imaginations. $39.99 @ My Fairy Gardens

  • Go High Tech

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    If your kids are into high-tech gadgets, start with the Parrot Flower Power -- a device they insert in the soil that will update you by phone or tablet to the plant's health, measured by sunlight, temperature, fertilizer and other factors -- to wean them off the iPad and hook them on the garden. Your kids will also never forget to water their plants again! $59 @ Parrot

    More from The Stir: 8 Plants You Can Grow Inside AND Outside (PHOTOS)

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