There are those certain times of year (April and October for me) that we all want to be outdoors! This is when parents will feel the need take their children outside and enjoy some fun gardening crafts kids can make! From experience(empty nester of three kids), I know that most parents out there are wondering how to entice their kids outside (i.e. pry them away from the TV and computer) AND still engage them. If we could tack on a little teachable moment that would make it even better, yes?!?
I also know those alluring days are short for many so it would be great to bring some of the garden projects indoors too. Then on those cold, dreary winter days – or – those dog days of summer, you can bring out the garden crafts and cheer the whole family up!
In reality, you have a lot of options. I am going to break these projects out by age group because if I was hunting for my own kids, that would be my first question.
Garden Crafts Kids Make
Ages 2 and up
I remember making my own suncatchers as a kid, and later in life when the weather began to warm up in my hometown of Phoenix, I would take my grown-up self and my kids down to the local craft store and buy each of them their own suncatcher. We had them hanging all over the place!
Recommended Kid’s DIY Suncatcher Kits
Instead of buying a kit, this could also be a DIY craft. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. This is definitely one of the easiest garden craft ideas for kids.
Tissue paper or wax paper are both great translucent canvases for your little artist. The tissue paper can be gently painted on or can be cut up into little shapes then glued to the wax paper. Maybe leaves and flower petals could be attached? So pretty!
Before starting, decide how you want to hang it. Do you want to frame it in popsicle sticks or attach to little branches you find outside? Would it be better to glue the canvas to the frame first…ponder that before handing over the paint and glue stick?
Benefits: You can set this craft up for almost all age groups.
Teachable Moment: At the most basic level, your kids are learning fine motor skills. This was an issue for one of my boys, so all the crafty projects he could work on the better. If you choose leaves and flower petals from your garden, you can teach your child the name of the plants and why the leaves are green but the flowers are not. If they are tracing patterns from the tissue paper, they are learning how to use scissors.
Artfully Decorated Rocks/Rock Pet
It is not just about painting pet rocks anymore (although people still do it!). I have seen rocks painted and decorated with beads, lace, ribbon, etc! The endless supply of Sharpies and their amazing colors make for a fun, creative way to decorate. If you opt for painting, acrylic paints are the brightest and have the longest staying power. Use Modge Podge or some other sealer after your paint is dried to keep it on longer.
Recommended rocks: River rocks are great because they are so smooth and many are light colored.
Recommended Rock Painting Kits and Accessories
Deluxe Rock-A-Doddle – 12 Rocks w/ Several AccentsSharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers, Asst Colors, 24-CountDecoArt DAPK242-A 64-Pot Value Pack, PrimaryMod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish (16-Oz), Gloss Finish
Teachable Moment: This is another project that develops fine motor skills. The children are also learning about their creative self. My very wise grandmother used to drill into my head that no matter what, I should praise my kids constantly with how amazing their idea was or in this case how absolutely fabulous their rock art is!
You are building their self-confidence this way. Regardless how it looks, you have NEVER seen a better looking rock in your life! LOL. Seriously tho, it works! Despite all my parental screw-ups, my kids turned out great and I attribute the constant encouragement as part of the reason.
Set Up a Nature Table/Tray
This is a pretty fancy term for what is basically a set space for all the fun, natural items your kids collect over time. This could be rocks, flowers, twigs, pinecones, small gourds, frogs <Kidding! Kidding!>, etc. The fun part of this is they can go back to it anytime and play with the pieces. Maybe make crafts out of them? Etc.
There are several receptacles you can use to collect this treasure. Maybe a small table or an area on his bookcase? A little tray she can move around the house or outside with? Etc.
Teachable Moment: Cool science lessons abound here. Why are all the plants green? How are flowers created? Do you have a magnifying glass or a microscope she can look through to examine her finds more closely? Who knows? You might be nurturing a budding young biologist!
Of all the easy garden craft ideas for kids, this has to be top of the list.
4M Make A Wind Chime KitI confess I have a thing for wind chimes. They sound so sweet in a breeze. This is another activity that can be as simple or complicated as you want. I remember making wind chimes with just scraps of paper, string and a hangar. When she was young, my daughter made me one with long strands of paper and I think beads on the end (memory is fuzzy). It looked like a colorful octopus.
Teachable Moment: The wind. You can’t see it yet it is there. You can see the effects of the wind thanks to the wind chime. What else can the wind do?
An additional faith lesson can be brought in too. We cannot see Him physically but we can most certainly see and feel the effects of Him. Pretty cool, huh?
Ages 5 & Up
A small easy to maintain container garden would make an awesome gardening craft on a sultry summer afternoon! In reality, any manageable container will work. Get creative. Remember that whatever you choose will need either to drain or have enough soil to absorb the water you give it. Also, you will probably want it to be easy to move. That’s the beauty of container gardening!
Recommended Kid’s Gardening Fun
Buy potting soil with fertilizer already in it. Potting soil has natural elements added to it like perlite that helps the soil stay lighter allowing oxygen to flow through. Maybe consider a mix of seeds and seedlings. The seedlings will pique your child’s interest now since she can see, hold and experience them. Watching the seeds grow will retain that interest over the following weeks.
Check the seed packets before buying them to ensure they will grow in the environment you are creating. i.e. if the container is inside, then 6’ sunflowers may not be what you want! Haha.
Vegetable or Herb Garden for Kids
I read somewhere that kids are much more likely to eat the vegetables that they help grow. I believe that. They are actively engaged in the creation of their own dinner!
This garden could be a container garden or a small plot you set up outside. Do you already garden? Then set aside a small space that is just for her and let her choose which veggies or herbs she wants to plant.
Start a Kid-Friendly Terrarium
I had a couple terrariums growing up. Loved them! Still do actually. This is a great project for teaching your kids the circle of life for plants. You can get this as a kit with everything included and ready to go or turn it into a DIY project.
Wondering what plants to put in your DIY terrarium? Succulents are incredibly hardy and come in all sorts of gorgeous varieties. This might be a good first start. You can always add other plants over time.
Build a Miniature Fairy Garden
I am a little jealous of the Fairy Gardens I am seeing! Why didn’t I HAVE ONE?!? They are sooo adorable! Similar to the container garden mentioned previously, these miniature fairy gardens are basically a variation of that but maybe not as many plants so your daughter (or son) can make room for the fairy pieces. i.e. a house, fence, fairy pets, etc.
Recommended Fairy Gardens
Wee Enchanted Garden Kit – Comes with planter, paints, cottage & more!My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage Playset – Moving Doors and Trickling WaterFairy Garden Kit: Enchanted Fairy Garden Kit W/Plants, Bench, Winged Fairy
Teachable Moments for Gardens: SO many! First, he is learning organization as the garden/terrarium has to be set up in specific steps i.e. the soil comes before the plants. Each plant needs a certain amount of space. Etc. By doing this, you could talk to him about why each component is so important for the life of the seeds/seedlings you are planting. Responsibility because he will be responsible for making sure the plants are watered and fertilized appropriately.
Assuming your child is old enough, my humble recommendation is to let your child take full responsibility for the garden/terrarium. He is learning about natural consequences this way. i.e. If the plants do not get watered, then they die. Teaching there are natural consequences to actions (in this case neglect of the plant will kill it) at an early age will serve you and your child in good stead down the line. Believe me. I know!
Make Kid’s Lanterns
These are not those silly paper lanterns that you can only look at! Instead, these are lanterns your child can use! Take a clear, plastic mason jar (or old mayo jar), let your child decorate it however she wants then put an electric light inside. Maybe a tea light? Or something else that is brighter perhaps?
Teachable Moment: Then…when dusk hits go outside for a nature walk. Listen for and check out all the animals that roam around at night. Teach them about how nature works differently at night. Why some animals and plants are nocturnal. Etc. Maybe tell them about the Skunk Ape your brother’s best friend’s cousin told you he saw one night! Muwahahaha!!
DIY Bird Seed Feeders
There are many ways to make bird seed feeders. Some involve peanut butter (super messy but fun). Some require gelatin. You can mold them in cookie cutters or roll around a wreath. It all depends on your motivation and time. This project can also be labeled as one of those easy garden crafts for kids. Take note, I said one of the easiest-not one of the cleanest! I do not recommend you try this project out on your carpet!
Teachable Moment: Of course, since it’s a hands on craft, fine motor skills and exercising of the little gray cells are in play. Also, the bird seed you choose will draw certain types of birds. You could bring out your child’s book of birds and identify which ones are eating the seed. Since you will probably attract a squirrel or two, you could also identify them as well and talk about why squirrels would try to eat the birds’ food.
Build, Paint and Decorate a Birdhouse
Since we’re already on a bird attraction kick, why not build, paint and decorate a birdhouse? Then hang it outside and watch for the nest to appear! Most fun will be the ensuing eggs and chicks! Now, if you truly want to attract birds to your yard, then you will need to do a little armchair research to identify the types of birdhouses the birds in your area are attracted to.
Recommended DIY Birdhouses
For example, I put up a bluebird house yesterday. First time ever. I read that bluebirds need an opening of a certain diameter. Additionally, the house cannot have a perch as that attracts predatory birds such as House Sparrows who might try to take over. Can get a little complicated, yes?
I was very specific though as I read bluebirds are beneficial to have around gardens as they will eat many of the predatory insects that want my vegetables! So I bought a house just for that species. Organic pest control at its best!
Teachable Moment: Besides teaching light construction skills and hand eye coordination, watching the circle of life begin for a bird is quite fascinating and will give you opportunity for hours of fun education for your child.
Raise Ladybugs or Butterflies
This might be a better project for an older child. I am thinking maybe 8 or so…? It all depends on the maturity of your own though. It is really cool watching the larvae turn into a recognizable animal such as a ladybug or butterfly.
Teachable Moment: You are teaching your son or daughter about nature in its most fragile state, and watching it morph into the insect your child recognizes. You can teach him about the various stages both insects go through and the purpose each phase of their lifecycle serves. Both are considered beneficial insects so you can teach the why’s on that too. It will make it easier to justify why they need to be set free later.
While the insects are growing in their little home, consider planting flowers and bushes that will keep your new friends around. I have a free printable here of flowers that attract butterflies and this article here will tell you about plants that ladybugs love.
Healthy Dirt Cup Desserts
A day of creating garden crafts is not complete without a fun dessert to accompany!
I love the old pudding and oreo dirt cups like everyone else. In my midlife-ness now though, I can reflect back and determine where I should have taken different paths. One of those is my regret over the amount of refined sugar I fed my kids. I would never consider making those old dirt cups anymore so hunted around for one I would make. Which led me to Feasting On Fruit and her Raw Vegan Dirt Cups which sounded pretty darn yummy to me and had really positive comments from those who made it.
Small warning: Make in advance as it is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight to set.
Teachable moment: You are teaching your kids to cook! Need I say more?!?
How was that for fun gardening crafts kids can make? Articles like this make me want to go out and borrow my neighbor’s insanely adorable daughters so I can craft with them? Hmmm. Maybe I will! If you come across any great articles for any other kid friendly garden crafts, send it to me in the comments and I will post on this blog as a reference.