Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gardening Is Child's Play

This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

 Miracle-Gro wants to encourage and inspire new gardeners of all ages.  Check out their video below, then continue reading to learn how to make this picket fence garden.  Even the youngest gardeners can help with this project and I'm betting that you'll have fun too.



What You'll need 
  • box to hold plants.  A shoebox will work well.  Box height should be slightly shorter than a popsicle stick (@ 4 inches)
  • 2 or three seedlings or seeds.   Seedlings are best for very young children, who may lose interest, if the seeds don't sprout within 5 minutes of planting!
  • pots that are slightly shorter than the height of your box
  • popsicle sticks (colored or natural)  Quantity will vary with the size of your box.  Measure the perimiter of your box and multiply the number of inches by two to get an approximate count.
  • phoro of a family pet (or one of your child), an image cut from a magazine or the child's own drawing that is small enough to fit on the front of your box.
  • Lightweight cardboard, a bit larger than your picture or drawing
  • glue
  • Moisture Control Potting Mix
  • ribbon or fabric trim - long enough to fit around bottom of box 
  • crayons and children's paint (optional)
  • sealant spray (optional)
Preparation 
  1. If using natural popsicle sticks, paint with water colors, if desired.  Sticks should be dry before continuing.
  2. Glue drawing (or selected photo) to cardboard and cut out after glue has set.
  3. If desired, spray inside of box with sealant to provide protection from watering spills.  This is an adult job.
Assembly 

  1. Glue popsicle sticks to outside of box, leaving a small space between sticks,  Sticks should begin close to the bottom edge, but not extend beyond it.
  2. Glue ribbon or fabric trim over the sticks around the base of the box.  I chose a green trim to make it look like grass.
  3. Glue cutout to outside of box.
Planting
  1. For seedlings, partially fill pot with potting mix, leaving enough space to insure that the plant roots will fit below the edge of the pot.    Then gently add more mix to fit around the plant.
  2. For seeds, check the instructions on the seed packet for correct planting depth, then add potting mix and cover as recommended.
  3. Water.  Moisture Control Potting Mix makes watering easier, since it holds 33% more water.  It also helps to protect against overwatering, a common problem for many newbies as they strive to take good care of their plants.
Continue  The Learning Fun
You can provide your child with many learning activites and keep them engaged with their garening project.  A plant journal works for a variety of ages.  Young children can draw pictures of their plant to record changes.  Add them in chronological order to a binder, so they can see changes.  Older children can write in their plant journal and add sketches, photos and measurements of plant growth.  Counting blossoms and identifying blossom colors are other activities for the youngest.   A plant calendar is a great way to teach about feeding and watering schedules, as well as developing calendar skills.  Use Shake n' Feed Moisture Control All Purpose Plant Food for great results.
Visit Miracle-Gro's website to find more projects and check out their library of gardening articles and tutorials for all ages and skill levels.  The Gro Project also has instructions on a number of fun projects that combine gardening and craft fun.  I'm betting your children will love making the Toyrarium.  For more fun garden projects visit Miracle-Gro on Pinterest.  It's a great place to gain inspiration and tips from other gardeners and share your own ideas.


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