Children can learn lots of things from taking care of plants. In the summer, nothing is more fun than spending some outdoor time with our kids in the garden, teaching them the wonders of nature. But playing and learning with plants and gardening is an activity that we can have in the winter as well. Indoor gardening can be a very pleasant and entertaining thing to do during the holidays or in these cold weekends when playing outside is not possible.
Children are natural gardeners. They love to see how things grow and change, and their ability of experimentation is endless. They also love to feel responsible for something and take care of it, so they are always excited when they initiate a new garden activity.
The materials we need to start an indoor garden with our children are simple. First, we need to find a place in the house where we will be working, and where we can have our plants. It must be a place with enough sunlight and away from the traffic of the house. Then, we can ask our children to collect recipients for the seeds and the plants. They can collect used cups of Jell-O or yogurt, milk cartons and discarded food cans.
We must remember to drill holes in the plant containers to allow drainage. We will need soil, cotton and paper. The paper can come from newspaper, paper towels or even toilet paper. And we can’t forget to have sticks to help the plants to grow, scissors and markers. You can buy some garden children’s tools very cheap in a dollar store or Wal-Mart.
Once we have our space to work and the materials, we can start playing with seeds. The children can collect seeds from the food they eat, as orange, apple or lemon seeds, or we can buy some seeds in a package. Beans’ seeds grow pretty easily and fast, and kids love to eat the green beans or sweat peas later.
We can sow seeds in almost any kind of container; a glass ordinary cup filed with cotton and some water will be the perfect bed to grow beans, and we can use the Jell-o or yogurt cups as well.
To make more interesting the gardening, we can take our children to the grocery store and buy there vegetables that we can reproduce at home, as garlic, melons, or onions. We must plant them in containers; many of these things will grow very fast. We can place a potato in a container with water; it will grow very fast a huge plant, and we’ll need to prune it and change its water often.
To grow flower plants from seeds our kids will need containers that can make good green houses; an egg container will be perfect, we must fill the compartments with soil and water and add the two or three seeds in each one, close the lid and leave in a dark and dry place for a while. The seeds will germinate very soon, and then we can open the container’s lid and observe how the plants grow.
Children will love also to grow an herbs garden, because they can smell and taste the products. We can plant oregano, parsley or cilantro, and they can cut it and added to the food while we are cooking.
We can’t forget to make our children to label all the plants they are growing, and encourage them when some of them die.
Gardening indoors for children is not only a fun activity that can entertain them in the long winter days; it is a real life lesson.