My growing up years included hours in the pea patch weeding my mother’s garden. I remember each year, I’d start out with grand hopes for my own little garden, but never got very far.
Our boys have loved gardening since they were infants… well, mostly I think they just love digging in the dirt and bulldozing. But we always make sure they spend some time actually planting, watering, and harvesting. (And when they can tell a weed from a vegetable, they’ll be just like me, out in the pea patch!).
Hands-on gardening activities for kids
Today, there’s more support than ever for parents who want to introduce kids to gardening joys. Here’s just a few of the educational toys we’re using this spring to share our love of gardening with the boys. (This post is sponsored by the brands featured).
Powerful Plants Interactive Organic Seeds for Kids
I stumbled across Powerful Plants at the Toy Fair this year. What a concept this seed company has created! Powerful Plants are organic non-GMO seeds, which are all we’re planting these days. But there’s more to their seeds than just… seeds!
Powerful Plants are actually animated veggie characters on each seed packet. So more than just planting seeds, the “edutainment app” helps kids learn more about each vegetable they plant and get growing instructions. When you download the Powerful Plants app to your phone or tablet, you can bring the characters to life. Point your phone app to the seed packet, and the app will animate the Powerful Plant characters. Listen to Daucus Carrot tell you about his crisp sweetness, and how to plant him after the first frost. Butter Crunch Bibb Lettuce will instruct kids on the history of the lettuce plant, going all the way back to the Egyptians. They’ll even learn about GMOs and the importance of eating their veggies!
At $2.99 per seed packet and with over 3 dozen seeds/plant characters to pick from, an exciting garden is about to begin! I love how this product has appropriate use of technology while encouraging kids to connect to the outdoors and do something productive as they learn about the food they eat. I definitely like how the app and the seeds function together or separately, so parents can control the technology usage.
Check out Powerful Plants on their website to learn more about their exciting characters and enter their upcoming contests!
The Young Scientist’s Club – Science on a Backyard Adventure Kit
Kids can dig deeper into the science of gardening with The Young Scientist’s Club Science on a Backyard Adventure kit. With over 18 activities and experiments with plants. Projects let kids test water and soil pH, and learn about underground habitats. From the soil to the seed and then on to caring for plants, the kit covers a range of gardening facts in detail and with hands-on fun for kids. Plus, the kit comes with all the materials you’ll need, except water!
We spent about an hour with this kit the first time we broke it out. We hydrated peat pellets, talked about soil, tested both water and soil pH, and played with bugs! I’m excited that this is a kit that can be used over multiple days, because it sure keeps kids busy. The guide included offers parents a script to read through as you talk about each activity – super helpful for me because although I am married to a chemist, I do not know how to explain the idea of “pH balance!”
This kit is just one of four in the Nature Series. At just $14.99 for 18 activities, that’s less than a dollar per activity! You can’t beat that for hands on learning value! And after the projects are done, the kids still have the mini tools, watering can and plastic bugs to play with!
Also, there’s The Young Scientist’s Series which are 12 sets each with 3 kits inside! I plan to add a few more kits into our homeschooling plan for next year after we finish this one.
LEGO My First Farm Duplo Set
For the very young, pique their interest in gardening and farms with the LEGO My First Farm Duplo set. Although it’s technically a farm set, when I brought this out, my two year old immediately said, “Where we get food?” Which led to a conversation about all the jobs on a farm, including planting and harvesting. The special decorated bricks led to conversations about how some farms aren’t vegetable farms but produce other food like milk and eggs.
Kids make connections with even the slightest prompting, so take advantage of the teachable moments hands on toys provide! Kids enjoy talking and listening while they build, and this set is rated for ages 1-1/2 to 5. You can see my 5 year old and 2.5 year old both enjoyed playing garden! Getting little ones excited about planting and growing the food they eat is just the first building block towards raising kids who grow their own food. Retailing at $19.99, this is a great starter LEGO set or addition to the growing collection!
AND… oh my goodness, if you want some serious gardening and LEGO fun, cheek out this idea for growing a LEGO Duplo Garden! So cute, and we are doing this!
Create a Garden Exploration Table for Indoor Play
Of course, when the weather’s not quite right for getting outdoors, there’s still plenty of ways to introduce kids to gardening inside! This past weekend I set up garden exploration table with all our gardening toys and crafts. The boys enjoyed so many activities. Find out everything we did with our garden exploration table in my guest post on the Melissa & Doug blog!
How do you get your kids involved in gardening at your home?
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This post is brought to you by the brands featured and I received products for review. All opinions are my own.