The sun is coming out to play, finally! And my daughters have been begging me to take them to the garden centre to buy plants and pots. But what about getting them outside in the colder months? I wanted to share with you some of the things we have been doing in our outdoor space when the weather isn’t so great, which is why I’m very excited to share with you 25 creative kids’ gardening ideas for winter that you can try at home.
25 Kids Gardening Ideas For Winter
Cherish the flowers in your garden for a long time to come, otherwise lost to cold winter months, by collecting them with your child and teaching them about the wonder of parching flowers. Collect your flowers before the worst cold settles in, as the flowers should ideally be free of raindrops or dew. As you go about collecting the flowers, teach your child what each flower’s name is.
Once your flowers are collected, line a thick book with parchment paper, and have your child place the collected flowers on the paper. They can use tweezers to handle delicate flowers and make sure that the flowers don’t touch.
Once the flowers are neatly placed, close the book and place it in an undisturbed spot for at least 10 days. Once this process is complete, open the book with your little one and watch as they marvel at the transformation.
When winter starts to peek its head out is the perfect time to start collecting seeds for next season, a process your youngster is sure to love. Pic a dry day to collect seeds from flower capsules and pods with your child, then allow the seeds to dry in a warm windowsill or cupboard. Older children might enjoy making a list of all the seeds that they’ve collected, which will come in handy in activity number 25 when they’ll get to plan next season’s garden.
Start a winter vegetable garden
Now it’s time for your child to get their hands dirty, planting their very own veggie garden. The ideal vegetables to plant in a winter garden include carrots, turnips, beetroot, leeks, onions and broccoli. This is a wonderful way to teach your child where food comes from, and why it’s so important to eat healthy, especially to improve their immune systems in the cold months to come. Once the first veggies are ready for the picking, your child will have heaps of fun helping you prepare a winter meal.
Create a winter garden nook for fairies
Oh no, what will happen to all the fairies and elves during the cold months? Let your child’s imagination run free as you help them create a safe little nook in the garden where the magic folk can stay warm. They’ll get to collect twigs, leaves, rocks and any other items that will make a perfect fairy fort. They could even add a bit of moss to make sure that the little fairy house is snug as a bug. To zoos the place up a bit, your little ones can paint pebbles to build a home fit for a fairy queen. You can of course create a fairy garden in the summertime, but creating one especially to protect fairies in the cold weather is one of the more magical kid’s gardening ideas for winter, plus you can theme it!
Teach your child about all the wonders of recycling and saving food, by creating your very own compost. Collect fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and shredded newspaper, which you can add to heaps of grass clippings, straw and sawdust. This is a fun way to teach your child that plants also need food! Once you have a big enough heap, mix your leftover and grass items equally into a pile, then moisten it by watering it. Turn once a week to provide oxygen, and voila come springtime you’ll have yummy plant food.
Painting with plants
Treacherous weather outside preventing heaps of garden fun? Why not take the garden inside! Before a rainy day, collect leaves and leftover flowers from the garden (or use some of the flowers that you pressed!) to create fun and interactive artworks with your child. Little ones can cover leaves with paint and use it as a stamp to make a pretty leafy artwork. Older kids can either trace flowers and paint or try to paint the leaf that they see all on their own. Not in the mood for painting?
Have your kids create pictures by sticking flowers and leaves, or cut leaves into small pieces to paste into a picture. Painting with plants is one of the easiest kid’s gardening ideas for winter! Plus your kids get to still have natural experience without having to venture into the cold.
A garden treasure hunt
Ahoy, matey, who doesn’t love a good old fashion treasure hunt? Compile a list of things that your youngster needs to find in the garden, like a specific flower or twigs you’ve styled in an interesting way, which will ultimately lead them to a hidden message somewhere in the garden. On a piece of paper (which you can place in a glass bottle), write activities that they need to do to complete the task, like “run around the oak tree twice,” or “water the veggie garden.” As for the treasure? Treat them to a children’s storybook set in a garden!
Make a birdfeeder
Winter is the perfect time for children to get creative and make bird feeders for the garden because birdies need food in cold weather too. Making a bird feeder is super easy too, all you need is a pinecone, peanut butter and some bird seeds. Have your child spread the peanut butter on the cone, role in seeds, and there you have it! A birdfeeder ready to go. Simply attach a ribbon and hang it somewhere in your winter garden.
Keep a bird diary
Now that your garden is adorned with a birdfeeder, your children have the perfect opportunity to learn more about the exciting birdlife that their new birdfeeder is sure to attract. Have them keep a diary and draw pictures of the birds they see or even have a friendly competition to see who can count the most birds in a week. This is a wonderful way to teach your child about the wonders of winter, as you get to be a part of the garden while staying cosy indoors.
Paint planting pots
Get spring-ready by repainting old pots so that they are ready to shine when winter is finally over. Allow your child’s imagination to run wild as they pick their favourite colours and paint a rainbow of colours or adorable plant faces. This is a wonderful way to allow your child to use their creativity and do get their hands dirty. Plus, they’ll get to see their creation in their very own garden – giving them more reason to be proud of what they’ve made!
Make pot people
Pot people are a perfect way to tickle your child’s imagination, and you can incorporate this activity with the one above. Show your child how to paint a face onto the pots, which they can adorn with fabrics, buttons and ribbon to make it look like the ‘pot person’ is wearing an outfit. Then, sow seeds or place a plant inside the pot that will resemble hair. This can be anything from grass and chives to a string of pearls.
Make a worm farm
Oeh, little ones are sure to enjoy this interesting experiment! Together with your youngster, grab hold of any container, pot or glass jar in which you can make breathing holes on top and drainage holes in the bottom. Then, fill the jar with moist soil layered with sand in two-thirds of the containers. Next is the most fun part: finding the worms! Let your kids get their hands dirty looking for worms to add to their farm. Kids will have heaps of fun feeding their worms veggie scraps, or seeing them dig tunnels. Be sure to keep the container in a dark spot, as worms aren’t very fond of sunlight!
Make a window garden
Cold weather doesn’t mean you can’t take the garden indoors! Why not help your child to make a pretty window garden that they can enjoy all day? All you need is a deep container (deep enough for roots to stay happy), seeds of your choice and potting soil. Together with your little one, decorate the container in any way you wish, place your soil inside and sow away. For faster results, perhaps opt to place ready-to-go plants inside instead, especially to keep little ones interested. Choose ones with as much colour and texture as possible to hold their interest and help the development of their motor skills.
Making a window garden is one of the best Kid’s Gardening Ideas For Winter especially for younger kids – for older ones you can get them to create a zen garden instead!
Start an avocado tree
Avos are oh so yummy, and you don’t need to throw away the pit when you are done! Use the opportunity to teach your child about propagating plants – they are sure to find the process fascinating. For this fun activity, you’ll need to clean the pit without cutting into it, then scrub off all signs of avo. Next, make sure that your pit is the right way up, as its roots will need to sprout from the bottom. The pointier side of the pit is the top. To allow your pit to rest on top of a glass of water place two toothpicks into its sides to create a type of scaffolding. Lastly, make sure the pit is half-submerged in water, and then simply wait for the roots to sprout! Give your child the responsibility to make sure the water is replaced weekly.
Make plant tags
It’s so important to allow your child space for some creativity, and which better way than through arts and crafts? Making plant tags will also allow them to learn plants’ names as they go along. Accompany them along with the garden as you make a list of all the plants and trees that you can name (for little children, skip straight to the arts and crafts part). Then, with some old popsicle sticks, cardboard and any other items to decorate with. Let their creativity run wild, and they’ll have loads of fun matching the tags to plants in the garden.
Learn about roots
Teach your child about the wonder of plant roots right at your kitchen table, by showing them how roots can sprout in nothing but a glass of water. Plants that are likely to sprout in water include many succulent plants, impatiens, African violet and grape ivy. Place cuttings of these in a container of water and wait for the plat magic to happen. Once the roots have grown nicely, you can help your child to repot the plants or plant them in the garden once spring has sprung.
Make a sundial
This activity always fascinated me as a child, and I’m sure you and your youngster will find it just as fun! For this activity, you’ll need a printout of a sundial (you can find one here: https://pagingsupermom.com/sundial-clockface-printable/), a paper plate, glue, a bendy straw, tape, scissors, a sharp pencil and a bendy straw. Help your child to cut out the printable sundial and stick it onto the paper plate. Next, make a hole in the centre of the plate with a pencil, then push the bendy straw through the hole and tape it underneath to keep it in place. Voila, a sundial!
When the sun does decide to come out on a rainy day, take the sundial outside at noon and watch the magic happen as you point it north on a flat area. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere, point your dial to the south. Use the compass to tilt the straw to the north (or south) for a long shadow.
Go on a rock hunt
Rocks are likely to be in abundance in your garden, so why not make a game out of it? Give your child the task of ‘hunting’ for rocks of different shapes and sizes. Once they’ve collected quite a few, have them paint the rocks in different colours. They can even make ladybug rocks or rocks with faces on!
Make a terrarium
Your child will have heaps of fun learning all about how to plant ecosystems work, simply by making a terrarium! For this activity, you’ll cover the bottom of a glass jar with pebbles, add a layer of activated charcoal, which you’ll cover with a layer of moss. Then it’s time to add a thick layer of indoor potting soil, then add your small plant (succulents work well) to its pretty new home.
Clear old plants
This might seem like a tedious task for gardeners but little children will love getting their hands dirty to help their parents in the garden. For little children, give them one spot to sit down and pull out weeds, and for bigger kids, you can give them a paper bag to go around the garden and pull out all the weeds that they see. Make sure to teach them about the difference between weeds and flowers first!
Rake leaves (but keep the pretty ones!)
Another task you might find a bit boring, but oh how children love to use their senses! Have your little one jump right in to help, and of course, let them jump into the great big leaf pile when you’re finished. Who says hard work can’t be fun! While busy clearing the garden of old leaves, be sure to keep the prettiest ones for arts and crafts (such as the activity at number 6).
Make seed bombs
Oh boy, this one is going to be fun! When spring starts to approach, get your garden ready for the next season. Mix one cup of seeds with five cups of compost and three cups of clay powder. Have your child mix the ingredients with water slowly with their hands (we suggest that everyone should be wearing aprons!) until it’s all sticky and gooey. Now it’s time to roll the mixture into balls and allow it to dry in a sunny spot. During early spring, your child will have a wonderful time shouting “bombs away!”.
Bake mud cakes
Is the weather not ideal for seed bombs yet? Not to worry, your child will have just as much fun creating cakes and creations from mud found in the garden. Make sure they’re warm enough, as they wander around the garden searching for ‘toppings’ for their creations, such as pebbles, flowers and anything else their heart desires. This is a wonderful way to let their creativity run loose, as well as a way to use all their senses (except taste, of course!).
Grow a Venus flytrap
Now, this is an activity little ones are sure to enjoy. I remember how fascinated I was when I first saw a Venus flytrap as a child; I mean, it eats flies! You can either grow this interesting plant from scratch (here’s a helpful guide to follow: https://www.bugbitingplants.com/growing-venus-flytraps-from-seeds.php) or support your local nursery and buy a ready-to-go plant. These interesting plants live off ants, flies and other flying insects, and it can take them about three to five days to digest a meal. These little guys are sure to keep your child entertained, they must just mind their fingers!
Plan next season’s garden
Older children will especially enjoy this activity, as they’ll get to feel a part of the home and garden’s planning process. Little ones can also join in, saying which flowers they would love to see in their garden. During this process, flip through a gardening book so that they can point at plants and learn their names. Once you’ve compiled a list, plan your garden bed on a piece of paper. Come spring time, everyone can join in to make their dream garden a reality.
If you have a concrete patio outdoors, why not get your kids involved in giving it a makeover?? This will help you make your concrete patio safe, kid friendly and fun! And getting the kids to draw the design will help them think creatively and feel more connected to the family home and garden too, which is why this one made the list of kid’s gardening ideas for winter.
What are the benefits of gardening for my child?
Think back to your carefree childhood days: chances are, many fun and enlightening days were spent in the garden, where your imagination could run wild.
Not only are gardens the perfect spot for mystical kingdoms and fairy princesses to come to life in the imagination of your childhood, but research also shows that there are multiple benefits for your child’s health if they spend quality time in the garden.
First of all, gardening is an excellent way to teach your child the importance of responsibility. Caring for a seedling and watching it grow into a beautiful plant will teach them the importance of caring for another living thing, and allow them to get used to a routine, such as watering the plant daily or weeding the garden once a week.
Fun in the garden is an excellent way to keep your child fit and happy, without them even knowing that they’re exercising. They’ll have a jolly old time running around, playing garden games, digging in the dirt, and helping their parents be productive in the garden.
Learning about nature
Gardening is a wonderful way of teaching your child all there is to know about the interesting world of plants, insects, animals, and even the weather. As you maneuver throughout the garden, share your plant knowledge with them in a way that they’ll understand, and patiently answer all the countless questions they’re bound to have. Learning is fun, and where better than in the safety of their garden!
One of my fondest childhood memories includes the time where we had to germinate a seed in Second Grade, and take care of the seed until it grew into a plant to share with the rest of the class. I was so excited to take care of the seed and remember my excitement when it first started to grow. That sense of achievement is important for any child and teaches them that if they are willing to put in the necessary time and dedication, they can achieve anything that they put their minds to.
Working and playing in the garden is also an opportunity for your child to learn about the workings of nature and the consequences of their actions. If they forget to water a plant, the plant will likely die.
How do I get my child interested in gardening?
Alrighty, so gardening holds a realm of benefits for your little one, but how on earth (in the age of television and iPads) do you get your child to spend time and enjoy a bit of gardening time?
The answer, my fellow gardening enthusiast, is to keep it as simple as possible.
We’ll mention a few below, but try to keep the gardening activities uncomplicated, and something that your child is likely to enjoy. Furthermore, remember to consider your child’s age when picking activities. Pre-schoolers, for example, might have a grand ol’ time digging in the dirt and making mud cakes, whereas a nine-year-old might have more fun learning about butterflies and growing their herb garden.
Another step you can take to keep your child interested in gardening activities is to give them their own little spot in the garden that belongs to them. There, they are allowed to do and plant as they please (with a little help from an adult, of course). This will instil in them a sense of responsibility, and they’ll love to show you what they’ve created.
When inviting your child into the garden, also ask them if there’s something they’d like to learn on a particular day or a fun game that they’d like to play. For older children, ask them if there is something that they’d like to add to the garden, such as plants of their favourite flower or a napping nook, then plan together to see their vision come to life. Your child will likely appreciate and enjoy being part of the decision making and planning process.
So, thats our list of kid’s gardening ideas for winter. What do you love to do outdoors when the weather turns colder? let us know below!