There’s not really any great mystery about how to plant seeds with kids, but these tips and tricks will give you lots of extra play and learning ideas to make the most of your spring planting.
How to plant seeds with kids
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First up: select your seeds! Top picks for us (in the UK) in March include sunflowers, sweetpeas and leeks. We planted nasturiums and calendula too, which are both perfect for attracting pollinating bees and butterflies to the garden. And we also have seed potatoes chitting on our windowsills – sending out leafy shoots, almost ready to be planted.
The basics of how to plant seeds are: get a pot, fill it with compost, water it and add your seed, but try these tips too:
Child-friendly tips for planting seeds
Set out a sheet or tablecloth under your planting area to catch all the spills of precious compost. This makes it really easy to clean up and lets you use all your compost sweepings rather than them going to waste.
Use some fun and eco-friendly seed starters. We used seed trays this year, saved and re-used from previous years, but you can also use tin cans, egg boxes, fruit such as half an grapefruit peel or make your own pots from rolled up newspaper. For a super cute Easter idea, you could try growing Egg Heads.
You might find spoons are easier for the children to use than bigger trowels, especially if you’re filling seed trays with smaller cells.
And let the children water the compost before you add your seeds – or they might get washed away in an over enthusiastic flood!
Young children might love to get stuck in and want to play with the compost and seeds, which is to be encourage of course, but isn’t necessarily good for getting your little seeds off to the best start. So, for very young children, think about setting up a play zone, with a tray of compost and some trowels to dig with, so they can enjoy lots of messy fun along side you, while you do most of the actual planting.
Adding extra learning to your seed planting
Check out all the information on your seed packets, which gives you so much to chat and learn about: perennials and annuals, why some plants have to wait until later in the year to be planted outside, what conditions are best suited to your plants….
Take a good look at your seeds and maybe take photographs or sketch them. There are so many different shapes, sizes and colours to discover. My kids like to guess what each kind of seed is going to look like before they open the packets.
Count out the seeds and place the right number in each pot.
Let your children write their own seed labels – the perfect way to use writing practice for a real, practical purpose.
Start a garden journal to record the progress of your garden through out the year.
Creative ways to use nature to inspire learning