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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

4 Gardening Projects for Children

By Jan Pierce

Spring is in full bloom, and it’s time to get out and dig in the soil. To children, gardening is a bit like magic. Those little packages of mystery—seeds—are sprinkled into soil and then, after a loooong time, little green tendrils peek up into the world. You can capture some of that mystery and magic with these four mini-gardening projects.

Sunflower Houses
Sunflowers are magnificent things to plant because they have a short germination time—as little as seven days—and they grow spectacularly tall. Children will love planting their sunflower home and then watching it grow inch-by-inch. You could even do a little mapping and graphing as the home is planned. And then, when the magic is done, the kids can play in the house and even sleep in it. Find planning and growing instructions at

Pumpkins to Jack-o-Lanterns
Pumpkin seeds are easy to plant. Just place the seeds in mounds of soil spaced four to five inches apart. The plants will grow all summer long and bloom with their trademark orange blossoms. Then in the fall they turn from green globes to nice, fat orange pumpkins. Use them for cooking pies and tarts, but be sure to set aside several to hollow out and carve into Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Learn more at

Gourds on a Fence
Fence lines are great places to plant gourds, which entrance kids with their beautiful colors and different shapes. Gourds need to grow and mature until all the greenery has dried up. After they are thoroughly dry, you can use them for decoration or rhythm instruments, or hollow them out to make homegrown birdhouses. Find more information at

Succulents in Clam Shells
Succulents, those interesting plants that retain water in fat leaves, come in all shapes and sizes. When grouped together, these plants make truly lovely arrangements. They can grow in a minimum of soil, making them perfect for a kids’ project. Take a large shell (or other interesting container) and drill several small drainage holes in the bottom. Place a layer of wet sphagnum moss in the bottom, top with potting soil, and then add several succulent plants close together. These little arrangements make nice gifts, or you can place them in a spot where you and your children can enjoy them throughout the year. See for kits and arrangement ideas.

For more fun gardening projects, see

Jan Pierce, MEd, is a freelance writer specializing in education, parenting, and family life articles. She is the author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read, available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.