The best way to get kids to eat vegetables while they are growing up is to let them grow their own garden. From the earliest spring seed starting to the final harvest and composting in the fall, it's easy to find garden activities to do with your children. But what about gardening with kids in winter? Just like any gardener, kids can spend the winter planning and prepping for next spring's planting activities, as well as some kid's winter activities that actually include growing plants to keep their green thumbs in practice.
Gardening With Kids in Winter
When the snow flies, it's a good time to experiment with winter gardening activities for children. This is a good time to teach them all about sprouting, sunlight and water, and even kitchen recycling. They'll love the fact that you can grow a complete collection of houseplants with only kitchen garbage as the source. Start an avocado tree by sticking four toothpicks around the perimeter of the seed and suspending it in a glass of water with the round end down. Change the water every two days until roots form and start to fill the grass. Plant the growing seed and let it go, but watch out! They grow fast. Create a leafy garden by placing the tops from carrots, beets, and onions, as well as the bottoms of celery, on dishes of clear water. Keep the tops watered each day and place the dish in a sunny window. You'll see a small leafy forest growing within a week or so. One of the most common garden projects during winter is to grow a sweet potato vine. Suspend a sweet potato in a glass jar half filled with water. Keep the water filled so that it touches the bottom of the potato. Green sprouts will appear at the top and will eventually turn into an attractive viney houseplant. Some sweet potato vines have lasted a few years, growing up and around kitchen windows.
Additional Kids Winter Activities
Besides growing plants, activities for kids over winter can include crafts and projects to get ready for next spring's garden. Here are a few to get you started:
- Paint terra cotta pots for container gardening
- Turn popsicle sticks into plant labels with bright paint or markers
- Roll pine cones in peanut butter, then birdseed, to make simple bird feeders
- Read gardening books aimed at children
- Go through seed catalogs together to plan next year's planting
- Turn paper towel rolls and old newspaper into seed-starting pots for spring planting
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