A glass terrarium and miniature cacti.

Gardening Activities for Kids: Miniature Greenhouses, Memory Trees & Bug Catchers

 

Gardening activities for kids are great fun. They allow children to immerse themselves in sensory play and get hands-on with nature. Creating a memory tree, a miniature greenhouse or a bug catcher for kids are three simple gardening activities that all kids can try, even if they don’t have their own garden at home. 

1. Make a greenhouse for kids:

What you need: 

  • Gravel
  • Small plants or seedlings
  • PVA glue
  • Paints and brushes
  • Soil
  • Large, clear container (with airtight lid)
  • Toys to decorate your greenhouse, like a rubber lizard or spider!

Download the full guide on how to make a greenhouse for kids here or follow the simplified instructions below.  

What you need: 

  1. To start, get your kids to cover the bottom of their container with gravel, then sprinkle over a layer of soil.
  2. Next, they can use their fingers to make small holes in the soil and plant their seedlings or plants in these.
  3. Now it’s time for your little ones to get creative and decorate their container. Use coloured paints (acrylic paints are best for painting on glass or plastic) and a paint brush to create patterns on the outside of the container. Kids can also stick plastic toys, like a ladybird, to the lid of the container, or place one inside the container.

2. Make a memory tree for kids:

The second of our two gardening activities for kids is great for making indoors and doesn’t involve any long-term maintenance, making it super simple to do. Kids can collect sticks from your local woods and build their very own indoor tree out of memories, rather than leaves!  

What you need: 

  • Egg box
  • Plant pot
  • Paints and paint brushes
  • Polystyrene
  • Ribbon, wool, or string
  • Random small items to decorate the tree: feathers, sparkly decorations, bottle caps, and more
  • Fallen sticks with lots of branches

What you need to do: 

  1. Using the paints, encourage your kids to decorate the collection of sticks and branches. Once dry, the memory tree is ready to be assembled by tying a selection of the colourful sticks together.
  2. Now it’s time for the sticks to be secured into the plant pot. To do this, carefully fill the base of the plant pot with polystyrene and stand the sticks upright in the polystyrene.
  3. To create baskets to hang on the tree and collect memories in, cut off the lid off an empty egg box, and then cut the bottom half into six pieces so that each egg holder can now be an individual basket. Tie the baskets to the tree branches with ribbon, wool, or string.
  4. To complete the tree, decorate it with sparkly sequins or secure bottle caps, such as old lids from laundry bottles, to the branches with string. To make your memory tree extra special, make sure your kids decorate the baskets too! Once the entire tree is decorated and the baskets are in place, it’s time to collect some memories.
  5. Now comes the important part, becoming a memory collector! It’s time for kids to get together with family members, talking to them about small personal souvenirs which mean a lot to them or make them smile, and then asking them if they can donate them to their memory tree. As they keep collecting, they’ll be amazed by the stories behind items the family has kept! Offer a pen and notebook to take notes, if your children are old enough.
  6. There are no limits on the objects they can gather, as long as the items can fit into a memory tree basket and are lightweight: think about holiday mementoes and souvenirs, tickets, badges, baby ID wrist tags, photos, jewellery – the possibilities are endless.
  7. Now your kids have planted all your family memories! Why not try one of our other Play with Purpose activities?

3. Make a bug catcher for kids:

What you need:

  • A garden trowel
  • An empty baked bean tin with one end removed and filed down to remove sharp edges
  • Four stones or marbles
  • A tile or slate

What you need to do:

  1. Dig a small hole the size of the empty tin so it fits snugly inside without gaps around the edge and is level with the soil around it
  2. Then place the four small stones or marbles on the soil surface, outside the tin, an inch or two away from the edge
  3. Put the tile or slate on top of the stones to protect the catcher from rainfall, and this will create a damp shady area, perfect for attracting bugs out on a midnight stroll
  4. After leaving for 24 hours, you should return to find just some of the creatures that visited your garden during the night
  5. Note down your bugs and check again several times over a week to see how many your kids have collected before setting their new little friends free!

After trying out these great gardening activities for kids don’t forget to check out our other gardening ideas for kids such as making a fairy garden, growing potatoes, and indoor gardening for city kids.

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