I love encouraging my kids to get outside, get dirty, and experience nature as closely as possible. Over the past few years we’ve planted gardens with them – with mixed results. One year, we’ll call it the year of the backyard jungle, the kids grew squash plants that yielded few squash, but an amazing crop of large, playhouse-covering leaves. It was impressive, if not edible.
This year, they are bound and determined to grow their own salad, and actually be able to harvest it, make a meal, and eat it. So, we went looking for a little help – and found it in the form of perfect little pods. These little seed and soil pods were the greatest thing ever for helping the kids get off on the right foot when seeking out gardening success. Each cup contained growing medium, plant food, and a few seeds – you just pulled off the paper lid, popped the whole thing in the ground, and gave it a bit of water. Done.
We were chomping at the bit to get ours started, though, and still expecting an arctic-like blast in the coming week, so my kids and I decided to start our pods inside. Living in Teeny House, we don’t have a lot of space to start huge amounts of seeds inside, so this was kind of a perfect solution for us. We grabbed a tin tray with handles on it. I figured that it would be perfect for little hands.
When you’re doing projects like this with the kids – especially when they’re so invested in the outcome – you want to help them be as successful as possible without doing the work for them. The tin tray was perfect because my six year old can handle carrying it all by herself, and it can sit on the little science table we have in the kitchen for observations, but I can still pull it up and out of the way if I need to leave the kitchen for any reason. We have a very curious three year old in our home right now, and open pods of growing medium are very appealing to him (he’s already dumped poppy plants we started for a fairy garden).
As a homeschooling mama, I love weaving learning into all of the things that we do, and I’ll probably come up with a gardening journal or other extension activity as the seeds start to sprout, but for now the kids and I talked about what plants need to grow, and prepped them. Sowing these pods inside was simple. We filled the tin tray with potting mix– a perfect job for little hands. Then, we pulled off the paper lids of the seed pods and wrote the plant variety on the top, pushed them into the potting mix, and watered them.
The kids are excited to watch their salad grow. They have spinach, romaine lettuce, several varieties of tomato, cucumber, sweet peppers, and so many other yummy vegetables. Once the danger of frost is over, we’ll head out back and plant the salad garden in the yard by the kids’ playhouse. It’s going to be so fun to watch the garden grow – especially since the kids were able to plant it all on their own.
Let me know how your garden is growing! I can’t wait to hear if your kiddos love this as much as mine did! Don’t forget that there are lots of fun outdoors ideas in my book, 100 Backyard Activities! Do you have great ideas and tips to share on how to get kiddos out in the garden?
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