Gardening with Kids


Spring is the perfect time to teach kids about how plants grow. Even if the ground outside is still frozen, there are fun things you can grow inside. Try one or more of these fun gardening experiments for fun and learning!

Beans in CD cases:

Recycle a clear CD jewel case to grow beans and teach kids about the parts of the plant. With the empty case hinge side up, add some potting soil, filling about one-third of the case. “Plant” a bean concave side down (like the letter “n”) on top of the soil and let the kids water with a dropper by adding drops of water into the hole at the top of the CD case. Stand the “planter” upright in a sunny window and kids will be able to clearly see the roots reaching down into the soil as the plant grows out of the bean.

Flower bulbs:

Paper whites and daffodils are favorite early spring plants, and growing flowers from bulbs is a great science experiment. Use any see-through container as a vessel, from plastic cup to a clear glass or vase. Add rocks or marbles to the bottom of your container and place the bulb on top, root side down. Fill with just enough water to cover the bottom of the bulb. Observe the bulb as it grows roots and eventually a flower! Bonus lesson: Cut open an extra bulb so that kids can see the inside of this plant powerhouse.

Colored Carnations or Celery:

Fill a vase or glass with water and tint the water with food color. Place a white carnation or celery stalk inside and watch the plant become colorful as it “drinks” the tinted water. This is a great, short experiment to show how plants take in water.

Root Vegetables:

Ever wonder how root veggies form under the ground? You can see for yourself– and show the kids– by planting root vegetables in a clear container. Clear Mason jars are perfect for this, but a clear vase or other container works just as well. First, fill the bottom of your container with pebbles, marbles or gravel to allow for drainage. Then, add potting soil. Plant any root vegetable seeds, several per jar. Try carrots, onions, radishes or turnips. Keep the soil moist and enjoy watching the root form. Best of all, when the vegetable is done growing, you can eat it!

Grow a Carrot Top:

This is a fun way to see a plant grow, but it will not produce an edible carrot. You can use an end of a carrot from your veggie scraps, or buy a whole carrot with the green fronds still attached for this experiment. Cut off the carrot near the plant end, leaving an inch or two of root. (Remember, the root is the edible part of the carrot, so you’ll want to cut your carrot near the wide end, leaving the part where the green leaves attach for growing.) Place several cotton balls on a plate or shallow dish and add water until the cotton is moist. Place the carrot top on the wet cotton, orange side down. Help the kids check and add water as needed. The green plant will sprout within a few days.


Sunflower seeds sprout and grow quickly, making this the perfect flower for impatient children. These seeds can be started just about anywhere, even in a Styrofoam coffee cup. Kids love seeing the plant push its way out of the soil, wearing the seed husk like a hat! Transplant your plant to a flowerpot after sprouting to observe the flower as it forms.

Grass basket:

Grass is another seed that grows quickly. Make a living basket by lining a basket in plastic and filling with potting soil. Scatter grass seed on top and lightly mist with water daily. The kids will love using a spray bottle! This makes a perfect spring table centerpiece filled with green, living grass!

Try any of these inexpensive garden experiments for a fun project. Growing plants is a great way to sneak some learning—and a little sunshine—into your daily routine.

By Tiffany Doerr Guerzon, freelance writer and mother of three.

Posted in Featured Articles

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  1. Curtis HS IB Student Exhibit

    March 22 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    March 22, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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    Curtis High School presents the work of 13 students in the International Baccalaureate Art Program. Exhibiting the work of Kevin Ayiku Giselle Domingo, Olivia Friedman, Winsome Jacobs, Sayyidah Johnson, Sarah Landowne, Eva Lin, Joseph Marte, Magdalen Pickering, Victor Salinas, Avery
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    March 22 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
    March 22, 2018  |  7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
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    Join Richmond County Pipe & Drums for free lessons on Bagpipes & Drums, no Experience Necessary! Every Thursday Night, except holidays. We do occasionally take breaks so please email ahead to for more info!
  3. Person Centered Care Services Information Sessions

    March 23 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Person Centered Care Services
    Join PCCS for information sessions! We have Self Direction 101, with dates from March into May. We have sessions covering subjects such as Transitioning into Adulthood, Self-Advocacy and Schooling. Join us, ask questions and discover opportunities.
  4. Toddler Storytime: Toddler Time

    March 23 @ 10:15 am
    March 23, 2018  |  10:15 am - 10:15 am
    Tottenville Library
    Stories, songs, crafts and fun for children ages 18 months to 3 years old along with a parent or caregiver. Meet other toddlers in the neighborhood! No pre-registration required!
  5. Baby Rhyme Time

    March 23 @ 10:30 am - 11:00 am
    March 23, 2018  |  10:30 am - 11:00 am
    New Dorp Library
    Bring your baby to an interactive program with simple books, gentle movement and songs. Meet other babies & caregivers in the community. For ages birth to 1  1/2 years.
  6. Baby and Me Story Time

    March 23 @ 11:00 am
    March 23, 2018  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Great Kills Library
    Babies from birth to 18 months old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood.
  7. Toddler Storytime & Craft Activity

    March 23 @ 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    Port Richmond Library
  8. Toddler Rhyme Time

    March 23 @ 11:30 am
    March 23, 2018  |  11:30 am - 11:30 am
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    For ages 1 ½ – 2 ½ years and caregiver.Bring your toddler to an interactive program featuring, books, finger plays, songs and rhymes, followed by unstructured play time. Network with other caregivers and provide social opportunities for your toddler.
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    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
    Port Richmond Library
  10. Easter Egg Hunt @ the Port Richmond Library

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    0 to 4 years @ 12 PM to 12:30 PM 5 years to 9 years @ 3:30 PM to 3:45 PM 10 years to 15 years @ 4 PM to 4:15 PM One winner from each age group will win