Summer is almost over, but growing season is not. Here are some quick, fun gardening activities to keep kids busy in the final stretch before school starts.
Pizza Gardens: Why not grow herbs in the shape of a pizza? Use a hula-hoop as a guide. Divide the hula-hoop into four or six slices, or sections. Use stones or rope to create the circle and slice lines. Once the design is made, the hula-hoop can be taken away. In each slice (or section), plant “pizza” herbs. Oregano, basil, garlic and thyme are great growers. Bay leaves and rosemary are nice additions as well.
Eggshell Starter Pots: Egg shells are great additives for garden soil as they provide nutrients to developing plants. Cracked eggshells also make a great seed starter cup for new plants. Fill each eggshell with soil and plant seeds. Place on a windowsill for sun and water daily. Once the plant begins to grow, crack the eggshell and transplant into a larger growing area. For a really cute plant, try planting grass seed and draw a little face on the eggshell. The results look like a little head with hair your kids can even cut and style.
Balloon Gardens: Using a funnel, fill a deflated balloon with soil and seeds. Lettuce and radish seeds work well. Add a small amount of water (no more than ¼ cup), inflate and place in sunlight. The humidity inside the balloon will cause seeds to sprout just like in a greenhouse. New plants can be easily transplanted by cutting away the balloon.
Sponge Starters: Using new dry sponges, use stencils to cut sponges into shapes. Once the desired shape is made, soak the sponge in water until saturated. Sprinkle lettuce seeds on top and apply a thin layer of plastic wrap loosely over the top before placing in sunlight. The wetness of the sponge helps new seeds sprout, but plants won’t reach full potential without soil. After sprouting, transplant seeds into a larger container with soil.
Hanging Terrariums: Hanging terrariums have been especially trendy in the design world and are relatively easy to make at home. Easy to care for plants such as succulents are perfect for terrariums. Hanging glass domes are available at local craft stores. Eco-conscious gardeners can also use recycled plastic and glass bottles to house terrariums. It is also possible to incorporate William Shakespeare into terrariums.
Bean Houses: Beans need support as they grow. Variations on a trellis concept are fun for kids to build. Try building teepees or using sticks in the ground to chart out a favorite shape or design. Most beans are fast growers, making a few weeks just enough time for kids to see their work in action.