Plant-Based Projects Kids Will Love
Gardening with kids can be empowering, educational, and fun whether you have access to a large outdoor growing space or merely a sunny windowsill. Even if you aren’t actively gardening, there are plenty of ways to meaningfully and creatively connect children to nature. Here are five engaging plant-based projects to try out with kids—no garden necessary!
Press Leaves and Flowers: Whether from your backyard, a nearby park, or even a local grocery store, you’ll need to collect a variety of flowers and leaves before getting started on this fun art project. You’ll also need a plant press, but don’t stress about having a pre-made one on hand, it’s easy enough to make your own with a few pieces of cardboard, two heavy books, and a belt. Once you’ve pressed your leaves and flowers, get creative with how you’d like to display them, maybe you’re interested in making a classic herbaria page to frame or perhaps you want to create a bookmark, a card, or a placemat—the options are endless!
Leaf and Flower Prints: This can be an exciting art project to tackle in conjunction with leaf and flower pressing. Using a mallet, kids can transfer pigments from fresh flowers and leaves onto a piece of fabric. Decorate napkins, pillowcases, and more while learning about natural dyes and the role of plant pigments—like one of the KidsGardening staff members who tried this out with her seven-year-old daughter, you might be surprised by the way the colors of flowers and leaves change when printed on fabric.
Build a Terrarium: Creating a terrarium requires an assortment of materials including small, slow-growing plants that like humidity and a container that’s large enough for you to reach your hand into for planting and maintenance (ex: an upcycled plastic bottle). You may also want to have some small animal figurines or decorative rocks available to transform your simple terrarium into a mini creative landscape scene.
Seed Saving: While it can be fun to harvest seeds from the plants growing in your garden, a simple search through your refrigerator will likely yield more results than you’d imagine (think tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and oranges). Some fruits and vegetables are harvested for eating before their seeds are fully mature, so not all of the seeds you find may sprout, but what a fun experiment for your young scientists to investigate. Additionally, different seeds require different seed saving techniques, but KidsGardening has you covered with their Annual Vegetable and Flower Seeding Saving Guide. You can extend this activity by designing seed packets or creative labels to help you remember which seeds are which.
Make your own Botanical Paper: This is a wonderful multi-day activity that can yield beautiful results as you turn scraps of paper lying around your home into handmade cards, bookmarks, or ornaments. To make your botanical paper extra special you can embed seeds (wildflowers and herbs are great choices because of how small they are) on the sheets and then eventually plant them. Be sure to consult the materials list before you tackle this project, you’ll definitely need all the various items to successfully create homemade paper.
About KidsGardening: We’ve asked KidsGardening, our partners for the Budding Botanist Grant program, to guest blog this week. We hope their insights will inspire kids to play, learn, and grow through gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder. As a national nonprofit, they offer garden-based activities and lesson plans for children of all ages, as well as grant opportunities for youth gardens across the country.