The third week of our vegetable garden came and went very quietly. This was completely expected, based on past botanical experiments. First, there’s the initial excitement of planting the seeds. Next, the carefully nurtured seedlings are discovered. Then, the interest level wanes for a period of time as activity plateaus. Finally, or hopefully, the plants grow sufficiently large or present enough changes to recapture interest. Gardening activities for kids invariably need variety and a modicum of immediacy.
Gardening Activities for Kids; Third Week Slump
Waiting for seedlings to grow into larger, more exciting plants can feel like an eternity to a child. One of the activities we tried, during the third-week slump, was making a DIY bottle wormery. This has both the thrill of pseudo-pets and the fascinating close-up observation of worm tunnels. Eventually, our wriggly little friends should produce a modest amount of compost. In the meantime, they are an additional source of interest.
In addition to the wormery, we made plans for a new sunflower project. Our vegetable garden journals spanned a 4-week period. Unless the carrots and spring onions manage to claw back some growing space from the rather impressive radishes, we won’t be documenting further development. So, we’ll hope that the veggies will eventually reach harvest stage, do some observation work on our sunflowers and move on to other activities.
Gardening Activities for Kids; How to Make a Bottle Wormery
We made a fun wormery using a plastic 2-litre soda bottle. (It’s always good to reduce, reuse and recycle!) You need to carefully cut through the upper portion of the bottle, to allow wide access to the inside.
Next, you layer potting soil, sand, and garden soil inside the bottle. Add some worms. Top it off with some organic matter eg fresh leaves. Tape the cut portion of the bottle to the wormery at one point, so it acts like a hinged lid.
Then, wrap some black construction paper around the bottle and secure it semi-loosely with tape. (The paper tube will act as a shade for the wormery, so your wriggly friends feel comfy and stay out of too much direct sunlight. You can lift the paper tube off the bottle to observe the worms in action.) Finally, spray the wormery with water every so often, so the soil stays damp.
We were delighted to observe some worm tunnels almost immediately. However, this will be more of a long-term project as worms operate under their own timetables!
Gardening Activities for Kids; Planting Sunflowers
At the end of the fourth week of our gardening project, we potted up a couple of sunflower seeds. Technically, this means the pot is already overcrowded! However, there’s a limit to the number of plant pots I can manage and the second seed was both a failsafe and a means of allowing both children to plant a seed themselves. This is currently the fifth week of our botanical aspirations and the tenth day of our sunflower mini project. Only one seedling has fully emerged; the other seed appears to be reluctant to reach for the light. So, I’m currently very glad we planted two seeds.
We’re using a very simple recording frame, that allows up to 4-days of observations at a time. (We’ll print additional sheets as and when there are any interesting changes.) The low key workload for the sunflowers will free up time for other activities. In fact, I’m already thinking about cress as another planting project; it has a much shorter growing and harvesting cycle. I’m keen to add a mini-project with tangible results, while the interest is still there. At last, botany is proving to be a serendipitous topic that has been very engaging. Plants for the win!
Gardening Activities for Kids; Resource Round-Up
- What to Feed Worms in a Wormery display posters by Twinkl
- Worms and Wormery Care display posters by Twinkl
- Black Construction Paper* (sugar paper) by Ivy
- Worms Differentiated Reading Comprehension activity by Twinkl
- Free Worm Page Borders (for writing or drawing) by Twinkl
- Wrigley Worm Maze by Education.com
- Sunflower Seeds* by Suttons Seeds
- Sunflower Observation Recording Sheet by First Grade Fanatics
Have you been planting anything recently? Do you have any favourite gardening activities for kids? I’d love to read your comments.