My kids have a love of fresh veggies. Every year, we dig up a little plot of dirt and plan out a garden. Any worms that are dug up are buried back into the freshly turned ground. (My kids also have a love of all things mud, and worms.)
After the garden is planned, we trek out to the garden supply store. We choose our veggies and flowers and (usually) squeeze too many plants into the space that we have. They love to help me plant, help pull weeds, and then eat the fresh veggies right from the garden.
How awesome is it to have kids WANT to eat fresh vegetables? They head over to the garden all day long and pop ripe (and sometimes not-ripe) cherry tomatoes right into their mouths.
Our garden has become a family project that lasts all season long.
So, of course we had to share our love of dirt and gardening (and worms) with some friends. With the winter behind us and the cold of this long slow start to Spring, we are SO ready to get outside and playing in nature. We knew a few of our friends were feeling the same way about wanting to do some outdoor activities, so a gardening group activity seemed like a great idea!
We decided to throw a Start a Garden play date, complete with craft time to make garden markers. Is there anything better than growing friendships just like a garden?
Garden Play Date Idea
We set up our play date with a few essentials: Seed starting containers, potting mix, small shovels (and plastic sand shovels for the toddlers!), and Gro-ables seeds. I loved that we had Gro-ables for this crew of kid-gardeners. The seed pods are so simple: just push the seed pod into loosened potting mix until the top is level with the potting mix’s surface and water daily. Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Project are guaranteed to grow fruits, herbs, or vegetables with sprouts popping up in 1-2 weeks.
I added all of these items into a laundry basket and headed outside to our porch. The big table was perfect for hosting lots of busy scooping and dirty hands as we prepped our containers. We added potting mix to the containers and then only had to gently press the Gro-ables Project into the dirt. This was the perfect project for a group of kids and even better for building memories of starting a garden together!
I loved that this group of friends got to learn together about gardening and had an experience of working together. Moms know that there is a lot to learn from something as small as a seed so it was fun to see the kids working together to dig and create as they planted. There was a real shared a joy as they planted the seed pods. I think one of the comments was, “This was really a lot of fun, Mom!” It was a hands-on play date that will be a lasting memory for all of the kids.
Tips for hosting a gardening play date:
- Load all of the supplies up in an easy-to-carry bin like a laundry basket.
- Work outside (there will be dirt everywhere!) on a large table or right in the garden.
- Provide small plant starter pots for each child.
- Make it simple! Use Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Project.
- Allow each child to take their plant starter home in their own small pot.
- Label the plant with a garden marker. Make garden markers together with the group of children. (See below for a fun garden marker idea!)
- Write each child’s name on their pot. They can take home their seed starter container and transplant the plant into a garden.
The only thing we needed for our newly planted seeds were plant markers. We decided to make this craft part of the play date and it was a huge hit.
Easy Garden Marker Craft
To make these colorful garden markers, you’ll need just a few items:
Large craft sticks
Small colorful rubber bands
Plastic Beads (optional)
Fine Point Permanent Marker
Making these garden markers was a workout for the fine motor skills. We have an over abundance of these small rubber bands and decided that they would add a colorful pop to our garden markers. Grab one or two rubber bands and wrap them around one end of the craft stick. Double them up and wrap them around the craft stick a second time. Keep adding rubber bands until 2-3 inches of the craft stick is covered with rubber bands. Add another layer of rubber bands toward the bottom of the craft stick.
We stuck our garden markers into the potted plants with our Gro-ables Project.
Once they start to sprout seedlings, we’ll transfer them to the garden where we can watch the plants grow all summer long. We will move the garden markers to the garden, too and keep a close eye on our plants as we water and weed them.
Do you have any tips for growing plants with your kids? Tell us about them in the comments!