Indoor Garden Craft Ideas for Kids – Plants That Stimulate the Senses
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Every parent wants their kids to enjoy the outdoors and to have a strong connection with Mother Nature. And while most grown-ups are grabbing every chance of escaping from closed environments, many kids tend to do quite the opposite and spend days without seeing the sunlight.
Thankfully they have us, the parents, to help them out and guide them the Montessori way. There are plenty of indoor garden ideas and projects that will capture your kid’s attention while expanding their interactive skills.
Before we start, though, we need to answer one important question, which is…
Why are DIY indoor gardening projects for kids important?
Besides the obvious reasons like fresh air and distance from the computer, tablet or phone screen, there is a set of reasons why spending time outside is be not only fun for your child.
A strong connection to nature almost always results in the improvement of a kid’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
There are a number of studies, mostly from the “Children & Nature” network, that researched this connection along with all of the benefits that come with it. For example, one study says that “A walk in a natural environment produced a faster and more stable pattern of responding on an attention task compared with a walk in a built environment.” All of this is great, but still, getting a child outside in this day and age is a bit more difficult task, then it should be.
One of the best ways to capture the attention of your kids is through DIY, arts, and crafts. And what is more crafty than making a flower pot person!
The great thing about this indoor gardening project is that it is customizable and easy!
Two big clay pots, around 8-inch diameter with drainage holes. They will serve as the torso and the head of the person.
Four smaller clay pots with drainage holes for the limbs.
Acrylic craft paint and brushes.
Around 3-foot piece of any strong rope.
A flower of your choice for each pot person you will make.
First, you need to design the head. Grab one of the two big pots and draw a face. Let your kids create their own unique characters. Keep in mind that the opening of the clay pot should be facing up.
When everyone is done drawing the face, select a color that will suit each flower pot person and paint the other clay pots – a.k.a. the bodies.
Take the end of the rope and run it through the drainage hole of the body-pot. Put the top end of the rope in the hole of one of the smaller pots that will act as a hand. Tie a knot on the inside, so it doesn’t slip through.
Pass the rope that comes from the bottom of the body-pot through the drainage opening of the foot pot and again tie a knot inside.
Do the same to the other side, and you should have the limbs ready.
Glue the head to the body, connecting the bottoms of the two bigger clay pots.
Pick a flower or a type of grass that will represent the hair of the flower pot person and plant it.
A garden scrapbook project is a wonderful way to spend time with your kids while teaching them about life in your garden.
Again, each person can create their own scrapbook and follow a different theme that will make it unique.
Steps to creating a garden scrapbook
Buy a base scrapbook. Ask your kids about the pages and the design they would like to have. My daughter, of course, wanted pink pages, so we had to look around a bit until we found a book that would go well with this color. You can find scrapbooks in crafts, hobbies, office supplies, department or gift shops.
Buy more pages. If you’re planning on using 20 pages per book, for example, make sure to buy at least 30, just to be on the safe side.
Gather some supplies. You will need two pairs of scissors – a regular pair and one with a patterned edge. Also, don’t forget to buy some glue. Let your kids browse through the aisles and choose different decorations like stickers or pre-cut foam icons.
Bind the pages together. If you are using a string or a cord, perforate the pages a couple of time at the sides. After that just put the string or cord through, and you’re ready. If you prefer to glue them together, apply the adhesive at least 2 inches into the page. Press the pages with a heavy object for around 10 minutes before you start crafting.
Glue the book cover and the pages together. This is the last step you need to do alone before leaving the rest of the book to your kids and their imagination.
Things to include in a garden scrapbook
Grab a camera and make a bunch of fun photos with your kids. Involve other members of your family, pets, neighbors. The more, the merrier! Mark this beautiful day with many colorful pictures you will later put at the beginning of the journal.
Dry leaves and flowers. Place the chosen plant specimens between sheets of an acid-free paper, put them under a pile of books, and let them stay for a couple of weeks. The leaves should be thin, as thicker ones can mold or rot. Of course, all the preparations should include your kids. In the beginning, they might protest a bit as this technique does not provide them with immediate results, but this is the main idea, after all. They are teaching them patience and appreciation. After the flowers have all dried out, laminate them with an acid-free product and arrange them along the pages. Invite your kids to read a bit about the flowers and let them write the names above the dried sample.
In the drawing pages, there are no limits! Your kids can draw the garden as it is now, or maybe draw it how they wished it would look like. If any of the ideas drawn in the scrapbook are actually doable and to your preference, don’t hesitate to make them a reality! It will certainly make your kids happy.
A calendar for the different flowers. After your children are already aware of all the different flowers there are in the garden, teach them about their blooming periods and different maintenance tasks. For example, if the flower in question likes shade or not, which is the season when it blooms, and how often they should water it. You will find that this type of calendar will not only be fun for your kids but also very useful for you.
Plants that stimulate the senses
What if we tell you that there is a way to get your children interested in gardening while engaging all of their senses too! Create a garden full of sensations that will make them fall in love and never leave it.
The plants listed below can tickle your kid’s sense of sight, sound, touch, and smell. Choose the ones that will go best with your type of garden and plant them together with your family.
Every kid loves bright colors and interesting patterns. You can encourage your kids to name other flowers in similar colors or think of stories with them.
Super sunflowers – They are one of the fastest growing flowers, able to reach up to two meters in six months. Their bright colors also attract a lot of birds, which is something your children will surely enjoy.
Heuchera “chocolate ruffles” – The leaves of this beautiful plant are coppery-pink and the flower itself – purple with chocolate undersides. Heuchera will also attract butterflies, again to the full joy of your children.
Calendula – These daisies will bring orange and yellow tones to your garden and be the perfect companion to many other plants.
Note: Sometimes indoor plants can be a source of allergies, that’s why anti-allergen purifiers can do a great deal of good.
The plants below produce many different sounds that could really unfold a child’s imagination.
Just let them sit in the garden and tell you what they hear.
Greater quaking grass, Briza maxima. This grass formes panicles of large, flat, ovate, pale yellow flowers that rustle in the wind.
Bamboo, Phyllostachys. The stems of this bamboo knock each other from the wind, forming a hollow sound. The bigger canes are also used for making wind chimes.
Love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena. The sound of this bright blue flower comes from the rattling puffy seed-heads that it forms.
Different plants have various textures, and each one of them has its own purpose. Walk your kids around the garden, tell them to look and touch each plant. After that, they can explain the feeling of being in contact with the surface of these plants and what they think about the purpose it serves.
Lamb’s ears, Stachys byzantina. The name of this plant comes from its soft textured silver foliage.
African sundew, Drosera capensis. This plant you can only observe! It’s a carnivore that catches pray using the glue-like substance on the surface of its leaves.
Houseleek, Sempervivum ‘Commander Hay’. This is an evergreen perennial which forms mats of fleshy-leaved rosettes. It’s pleasing to the eye, as well, with its star-shaped pink flowers.
Flowers and leaves that give off a potent smell are always a good addition to any garden.
Helichrysum italicum, also known as the Curry plant. The smell is released when its yellow flowers and silver-grey leaves are crushed.
Cosmos atrosanguineus – Chocolate Cosmos. The beautiful deep red flowers of this plant give off a strong chocolate-vanilla smell, which is especially strong during the hot weather. Sure to be your children’s favorite plant in the garden.
Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’. This fragrance is widely known for its many therapeutic uses. It’s a great addition to your garden, which the kids will surely love. You can teach them about the history of lavender and its many other uses.
A few final words,
These are only a few of the many indoor gardening ideas that your kids will not only enjoy but also learn from. Whenever you feel like they spend too much time in front of a screen and away from fresh air, propose them a fun garden activity. In time your children will learn to connect the outside with pleasant moments, and there would be no need for you to think of reasons that will take them outside. It’s best to do these as gardening activities for preschoolers, but it’s never too late to start.
Spending time with your kids and Mother Nature it’s also a great escape from daily struggles while bringing back your inner child. Each one of us has one. Just don’t let it grow up.
Must-Read Books About Nature Learning and Living
Exploring Nature - Children's Books and Learning Resources
Major Biomes of the World is a set of 3-part cards, information posters, and worksheets for students to learn about the major biomes of the world. It includes a map, 3-part card activities, descriptions, follow-up coloring, handwriting, and sorting activities.
Three-part cards and sorting activity with three major groups of rocks – Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic. Rocks are often a great point of interest for lower elementary students. It is easily translated into a hands-on experience for children who enjoy looking up various types of rocks and learning their origin and proper name pronunciation.
Seasons in Nature Printable contains: 4 work mats for sorting 24 picture cards for sorting (6 for each of the seasons) Sun and Earth rotation poster to place in the middle British and American versions
The printable features photos of birds and eggs. Each card set comes with a photo of a bird + a label, a label card, and a photo card of eggs including a picture of the bird that laid them. This makes it easier for children to connect the right picture of eggs to the right bird without assistance.
From a fragile and beautiful bird egg to a glittering meteorite from space, discover more than 100 intriguing natural objects with fascinating tales to tell in this beautifully illustrated wildlife book for children. This unique nature reference book has a fun, new approach that teaches children about nature through objects. It includes: • More than 100 amazing objects that you can find in nature made by geological processes, or by plants and animals. • Four chapters: Animals; Plants, Fungi and Algae; Minerals and Rocks; and Made by Nature. • Illustrated diagrams that support understanding. • Large, detailed photographs of truly fascinating objects. • Eye-catching jacket finishes: gold foil, holographic foil and metallic gold edges.
NATURE JOURNAL: Exploring nature with children through fun journaling. These activity books were created by parents who found a way to guide kids to discover and observe the outdoors with simple drawing and sketching. When given a purpose and excitement for finding plants, animals, and landmarks, your kids will enjoy learning to draw on this illustrative workbook in their own backyard.
by Editors of Storey Publishing (Author)
Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard. Seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature, and a real pull-out magnifying glass helps them get a close-up glimpse of leaf veins, seed pods, and tiny insects. Filled with activities, checklists, and stickers, this interactive nature guide belongs in every kid’s backpack.
See the world in a whole new way! Acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman combines art and science in this exciting and educational guide to the structure, function, and personality of the natural world. Explore the anatomy of a jellyfish, the inside of a volcano, monarch butterfly migration, how sunsets work, and much more. Rothman’s whimsical illustrations are paired with interactive activities that encourage curiosity and inspire you to look more closely at the world all around you.
From the smallest speck of sand to the stars that blanket the sky, nature is full of incredible things to explore. Inspire little ones to learn about the world they live in with this colorful and imaginative choice in nature books for kids. It’s packed with fascinating info and full-page photos that teach children about the weather, seasons, plants, animals, and more.
Kids are full of big questions like “What makes plants grow?” or “Why does the moon change shape in the sky?”. Awesome Outdoor Experiments for Kids can help them find the answers! It’s a treasure trove of outdoor adventures, with more than 50 fun experiments that show kids science in action as they play outside.
When words in verse are paired with the awesomeness of nature, something magical happens! Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exuberant poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems. From trickling streams to deafening thrunderstorms to soaring mountains, discover majestic photography perfectly paired with contemporary (such as Billy Collins), classics (such as Robert Frost), and never-before-published works.
Girls can do anything, and Adventure Girls! proves it! Packed with exciting activities and crafts for girls (ages 6 to 12), this book inspires young adventurers to be curious, innovative, and bold. From stargazing and animal tracking to making a pinhole camera and building a shadow theater, Adventure Girls! is not one of your typical craft books.
Crawl into the wonderful world of bugs—a fun photographic adventure for kids ages 3 to 5 Take your child on an educational adventure bursting with the kinds of colorful photographs you need in bug books for kids. The Backyard Bug Book for Kids has everything you’d want in bug books for kids: a story, pictures, and activities combined. Introduce your little one to the types of bugs they’re likely to see during their day, then help them remember what they’ve learned with fun, on-the-page challenges.
by Fiona Cohen (Author), Marni Fylling (Illustrator)
Filled with fun facts and 100 full-color, beautiful, and scientifically accurate illustrations, this nature guide will inspire kids to go outdoors and discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. Did you know that baby raccoons are smaller than a bar of soap? Or that salmon smell using little pits in the front of their eyes? Curious Kids Nature Guide is filled with full-color illustrations and fun facts about the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest, encouraging kids to discover and explore nature in their own backyards and beyond.
Immersed in the natural world, The Organic Artist for Kids inspires creativity by connecting kids and their adults to our wilderness roots. In addition to offering a wide variety of fun, collaborative projects using nature as a source for art supplies and inspiration, this book also introduces the concepts of awareness and perception that are fundamental to the creative process.
In the era of screens and devices, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors, and children are no exception. Not only does this phenomenon have consequences for kids’ physical and mental health, it jeopardizes their ability to understand and engage with anything beyond the built environment.
Wild creatures, cloud formations, plant habitats, and more―nature is full of wonders to behold and explore! In this nature journal, young naturalists will get all of the guidance they need to study and record their experiences of the natural world.
Clare Walker Leslie shows kids how to experience nature with all five senses, whether they live in the countryside, a major city, or somewhere in between. Guiding children through inspiring activities like sketching wildlife, observing constellations, collecting leaves, keeping a weather journal, and watching bird migrations, The Nature Connection encourages kids to engage with the world outside and promotes a lifelong love of nature.
From the author of the bestselling book 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope, this colorful edition explores the constellations with young readers, guiding them to dozens of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Every page features a helpful “telescope view”, showing exactly how objects appear through a small telescope or binoculars.
Get ready to explore the sky above, the ground below, and all the plants and creatures in between! Made just for kids, this nature anatomy book teaches you about the incredible forces and living things that exist in nature.
by Pamela Hickman (Author), Carolyn Gavin (Illustrator)
Balancing child-friendly facts with colorful illustrations, this perfect introduction to plants is sure to inspire the budding naturalist in every child. From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere! This comprehensive introduction will open children's eyes to the plants that surround them every day and how important they are to life on our planet. It covers the basics of plants, such as their parts, life cycles and growing zones.
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way. It features 33 different trees that grow in North America, from rural Georgia to the streets of New York City to the California suburbs.
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild. Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it’s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness.
by Mrs. Peanuckle (Author), Jessie Ford (Illustrator)
With playful text, bright illustrations, and sturdy pages, Mrs. Peanuckle's alphabet books will engage toddlers, and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world! Explore the wondrous world of hiking while learning the ABCs with Mrs. Peanuckle! Mrs. Peanuckle takes on the outdoors and shares all her favorite animals, plants, and more in her latest tour of the ABCs!