Raising Grandchildren

Four Fantastic Gardening Mini-Projects to Do with the Grandkids

We grandparents are always looking for ways to spend quality time with our grandchildren. We love those picnics in the park, day trips to the zoo and cooking projects in the kitchen.

But now summer is approaching and springtime garden projects are just the thing to do with the grandkids. To children growing things are a bit like magic. One simply puts seeds, those little packages of mystery, into soil and after waiting for a loooong time, as much as two weeks; little plants peek up into the world.

You can capture some of that mystery and magic with these four mini-gardening projects:

Sunflower Houses

Sunflowers are magnificent things to plant because they have a short germination time, as little as seven days, and they grow spectacularly tall. Children will love to plan their sunflower summer home and then watch it grow inch by inch over the summer months. You could even do a little mapping and graphing as the home is planned and grown. And then, when the magic is done, the grandkids can play in the house all day and sleep out in their sleeping bags at night.

See growing sunflower houses

Gourds on a Fence

Planting a row of gourds along a fenceline is a great way to enjoy the growth of these beautiful and varied plants. Kids love their beautiful colors and shapes. Gourds need to grow and mature until all the greenery has dried up. Then, when the gourds are thoroughly dry, you can use them for decoration, for rhythm instruments, maracas, or hollow them out to make homegrown birdhouses.

See growing and harvesting gourds

Pumpkins to Jack-o-Lanterns

Pumpkin seeds are easy to plant in mounds of soil with seeds spaced four to five inches apart. They’ll grow all summer long and bloom with their trademark orange blossoms and then in the fall they turn from green globes to nice, fat, orange pumpkins. Use them for cooking pies and tarts, but be sure to set aside several to hollow out and carve into Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

See all about planting and growing pumpkins

Succulents in Clam Shells

Succulents are those interesting plants that retain water in their fat leaves and come in all shapes and sizes. They are the hens and chicks, the sedums and the sempervivums that look like green roses. These plants, especially when grouped together make truly lovely arrangements. The fun part is they can grow in a minimum of soil and are perfect for a grandkid project. Take a large shell (or other interesting container), and drill several small holes in the bottom for drainage. Then place a layer of wet sphagnum moss in the bottom. Top with potting soil and then add several succulent plants close together. These make nice gifts or just place them in a spot where you and your grandchildren can enjoy them throughout the year.

See simply succulents

You can spark your grandchild’s interest in the great out of doors with these and similar gardening projects. For more fun projects to do together see www.kidsgardening.org.