I would have loved this book when I was a kid!
Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown has 52 fun experiments to learn, grow, harvest, make, play, and enjoy your garden.
If you have kids, grandkids, homeschoolers, unschoolers, campers, or students and want creative outdoor projects, this book is packed with great ideas. I don’t have little kids at home now but I still found a bunch of projects I want to make as well. Consider it a great resource for nature nuts (or kids who just need a little nudge) who just want to get outdoors and do fun stuff.
Here’s a few favourite labs
The book has instructions for 52 projects plus ideas for ‘digging deeper’. The images below, by Dave Brown, are from the book. The commentary is my own.
1. Make A Bird Feeder
What a great way to start a relationship with the garden: make a bird feeder and see who comes to visit! Some kids who have never had the opportunity to really play in the mud and watch insects can be really squeamish about getting outside and exploring. A bird feeder can bridge that gap as they see the direct cause and effect: Hey, I put out that bird seed and look who came to visit us!
2. Seeds In A Bag
How beautiful is this? This project is a great way to see not only the new growth that would be above the soil, but what goes on underground. Very cool.
3. Rock Bugs
A fun idea for the crafty kids: research various bugs, paint your own, and then display them or play with them in the garden.
4. Pollinator Palace
I love how bug hotels / pollinator palaces have become so popular lately, combining funky garden art with the intention of attracting a variety of wee wild things.
5. Rain Barrel
Food grade containers can be transformed into functioning rain barrels with some plumbing supplies. The tutorial for making a rain barrel is here.
More projects/ labs in the book:
- Make a rain gauge
- Grow mini pizza and salsa gardens
- Make your own seed tape
- Grow a butterfly garden
- Make a clay pot fountain
- Create a compost bin
- Make a toad abode
- Make a plant press
- Grow a sweet pea teepee
Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments by Renata Fossen Brown