Gardening is a fantastic way to get kids off of electronic devices and outside doing something active. As the wise Robin Williams once said, “spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’” These gardening ideas for your classroom can provide an easy way for students to get excited about plants and science. These are cute enough that you could send them home as Mother’s Day gifts or with families at parent-teacher conferences at the end of the year. Maybe your students will even decide to turn Fortnite off for a few minutes, and go outside to plant a garden at home.
1.) Seed Bombs
Seed bombs are so much fun and so easy to make. To begin, using either, old newspaper or construction paper, cut into small 1 inch pieces. Place in a small bowl (approximately ¼ cup size) and separate by color. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the paper, and let sit for 20 minutes. Once it has soaked for 20 minutes, remove paper and partially wring it out. Put paper into a food processor (each color separately) and pulse a few times to turn it into pulp. Place the colored pulp back into its bowl. Sprinkle each bowl with seeds and have students mix it up with their fingers as they turn each one into a rolled up seed bomb. Place on a pan to dry out overnight. These work best for wildflowers.
Eggshell seedlings win the prize for cutest way to start a garden. This is a great project to incorporate recycling, because students will learn that you can recycle more than just paper and plastic. The eggshell provides the perfect environment for seeds to grow and the shell nourishes the soil. Students can bring in egg cartons and eggshells, as well as their favorite seeds. Place a little bit of dirt carefully into your cracked shell, add seeds, and then decorate with faces. Watch as your eggheads sprout hair. This can then be transferred to an outdoor garden as is. No need to get messy trying to pull the plants out of a container. Just place your egg right into the soil.
There are many vegetables that can be regrown with very little effort. Carrots are a great example. Take carrot tops, place in water and watch as they sprout leaves. You can also do this with celery and romaine lettuce, using the cut off base of each and placing it into a container of water.
4.) Mini Greenhouses
Creating a mini greenhouse is not as complicated as it sounds. Many times gardeners use empty milk jugs overtop of their new seedlings, but if you want to start plants indoors, you can use a rotisserie chicken container, a foil pan with a plastic lid, large plastic tote with a lid, empty berry container, or even a large container with a clear plastic umbrella overtop.
Have students bring in water jugs, or juice containers for this project. You will cut off the bottom and put 4 holes (one on each of the 4 sides) for twine to be strung through. Take tomatoes you have sprouted, and carefully place them into the open hole. Add dirt while holding it upside down. Hang it up outside and water well. Planting tomatoes this way allows for gravity to help with the growth so you won’t need a trellis or tomato cage.
This is another great way to use recycled plastic containers. Students will cut out the front of the container so they can add soil and plant herb seeds. Label each container so you know what is growing inside. Then simply attach these containers to a small piece of wood and place it by a window. If you don’t want to hang them, then just sit them on the windowsill. They will need sunlight to grow, so make sure they are getting plenty of light and water. For complete, detailed instructions, click the link above.
Sweet potatoes make really great indoor plants because they actually have beautiful sprouts. Take one sweet potato per student, and place toothpicks on 3 sides, set the potato inside a glass jar, and fill with water halfway up the potato. Place by a window and watch as it comes to life. The plant can either be grown for decoration, or planted outdoors to grow and harvest. Add googly eyes to the potato to make this even more fun.
Gardening is more exciting than many kids even realize. In an age where electronics rule students’ lives, and social media seemingly never sleeps, get kids excited to go outdoors with these 7 fun garden starter ideas. If you want to take this idea one step further and actually begin a school garden, check out the gardening grants that are available to you. Happy planting!