Gardens provide us with so many wonderful treats!

A thriving garden is often filled with delicious foods, beautiful bright flowers, amazing animals and exciting places to explore. Whether they are small indoor containers or expansive outdoor spaces, gardens are full of mysteries waiting to be solved: Why are bees so important? How do vines climb up poles? Why do some plants need more light and heat than others?

As children begin to imagine, create, work and play in gardens, they will discover all sorts of things about the world around them. They’ll also discover that the garden is a wonderful place to enjoy time with friends and family.

Here are 3 unique, hands-on gardening activities that kids will love, adapted from our Kids’ Garden activity deck. All of the outdoor activities are designed to work in any kind of garden space: a public or school garden, a garden of your own or even a container filled with soil just outside your front door.

Compost Cake

Compost is the garden's recycling station! Food scraps and garden trimmings go in, then healthy compost to nourish plants comes out. To make a compost cake, layer “browns” (dried leaves, grasses and twigs)and then “greens” (fruit and veggie scraps, fresh grass trimmings), then top with a layer of soil. Sprinkle water between each layer. Keep repeating the layers. In a few months you’ll have a pile of compost!


Sock Garden


Did you know that seeds can travel? Some fly in the wind, others travel in the guts of animals that eat them, and some hitchhike on animals that pass by. They even latch onto your socks when you walk through a meadow. Try putting old socks over a pair of boots and then walk through a meadow or area with tall grass and plants. Be sure to wear full-length clothing and check frequently for ticks. After the walk, remove the socks, plant them in a pit of compost and see what grows!

Seed Spheres

Do you wish you could encourage more helpful local insects in your garden? Local insects love native flowers! Try making Seed Spheres, or balls full of soil and native flower seeds, to scatter and grow in the garden when the time is right. Mix soil, native seeds and water, and shape the mud into balls. Bake them on a baking sheet in the sun and then plant them!


Want more detailed, step-by-step instructions for these activities?


Find detailed instructions and tips for these 3 creative gardening activities, plus a bonus Garden Treasure Quest activity, in our FREE Kids’ Garden Mini Activity Pack.

Want more activities like these? Find them in our Kids’ Garden deck!

Written by Whitney Cohen, the Education Director of Life Lab Science Program California, and illustrated by Roberta Arenson.

50 easy-to-follow activity cards in 5 engaging categories invite children to learn not just the basics of gardening, but also new ways of looking at nature. Creative games, nature-themed crafts and unique experiments are enhanced by colorful collage artwork on each double-sided card.

Kid-friendly explanations of the history and science behind each activity make this product a valuable multi-layered educational resource. Includes an 8-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety.