Organic Gardening with Kids: Grow an Outdoor Playhouse

It’s common gardener’s wisdom that if you let your kids grow their own garden plot, they’re more likely to eat the vegetables they grow. Most kids love to imitate the adults they see around them. They’ll take on the most boring chore, as long as mom or dad is doing it right alongside them. Get your children to work in your garden as soon as they can walk around and hold a handful of bean seeds. Gardening with toddlers can lead to a lifelong love of plants and all things green. When you teach them to grow their own food, you give your children the gift of health and self-sufficiency for life. Here are some great ideas for gardening with your children.

 

Gardening with kids may spark their interest, but what if you grow an outdoor playhouse? Spend an afternoon with your children putting together the beginnings of a bean teepee, a sunflower house or a porch room with a living wall. With these garden projects for kids you’ll have extra crops with a dedicated gardening staff and your kids will get a play fort that lasts all summer.

 

Bean Teepee

 

Build a bean teepee in a sunny spot in the yard that gets shade at least half the afternoon. This is one of the easiest and most fun garden projects for kids.
 

Things You Need

  • 6 8-foot bamboo poles
  • Garden twine
  • Shove
  • Pole bean seed

 

1. Pick a smooth plot of grass that’s about 6 feet across. Make sure the area gets at least six hours of sun every day.
 

2. Purchase six bamboo poles from the gardening center that measure 8 feet tall. Bundle the poles together in one bunch and wrap twine around one end near the top. This will be the top of your teepee.
 

3. Set the teepee frame up in the grassy area you chose in the yard, spreading the legs out to make a teepee shape with the twine-wrapped part in the middle. Push down each pole until it’s buried 6 inches in the soil.
 

4. Dig the soil around each pole to a depth of 6 inches and return the soil free of roots or rocks.
 

5. Plant three pole bean seeds around each pole, burying the seeds 1 inch deep. Water the soil around each pole thoroughly.
 

6. Keep the bean plants watered and train the vines to grow up the poles after they sprout. You’ll have a green and leafy bean teepee after about a month, with a ready supply of fresh green beans that hang down inside the play space.
 

Sunflower House

 

The stalks and leaves make a cool surrounding wall that will give your children the illusion of being hidden away in a secret room.
 

Things You Need
 

Shovel
Sunflower seeds
Hay or grass clippings

 

1. Choose a sunny location and dig a square or rectangular trench to outline an area that measures about 6 feet across.
 

2. Plant sunflower seeds 18 to 24 inches apart in the trench all around the outside of the square, leaving one space of about 3 feet open for a doorway.
 

3. Cover the soil and seeds with some hay or mown grass to help keep the birds away from the seeds while they’re germinating. Keep the seeds and seedlings well-watered.
 

4. Keep small children and family pets from the area for the first few weeks until the stalks are over knee-high. Gardening with toddlers can be fun but sometimes it can be distructive. The sunflower house walls will be high enough to create a hidden room after a month or so, depending on the variety of sunflower you choose.
 

Porch Play Fort

 

Create this hideaway on a porch or patio with an overhanging roof. This garden projects for kids will become a cool retreat for summer activities all season long.
 

Things You Need
 

6-inch stakes
Mallet
Thumb tacks
Hammer
Garden twine
Spade
Morning glory seeds
Moonflower seeds
Pole bean seeds

 

1. Pound stakes into the ground all around the porch at 6-inch intervals.
 

2. Hammer tacks into the edge of the porch roof, one above each pole.
 

3. Tie a double strand of garden twine between each stake and tack pair.
 

4. Plant a pair of morning glory and moonflower seeds around each pole, as well as two pole bean seeds.
 

5. Keep the seeds well-watered throughout the season. Within four or five weeks your porch or patio will be enclosed by a living wall of green leaves, vines, flowers and beans. The morning glories will bloom from morning until mid-afternoon and the moonflowers will take over when the sun goes down.