Have fun with your kids while doing something useful – container gardening! This will certainly help keep them from getting bored and they will love learning how to plant in garden pots. And, seriously, what could possibly be better than getting their little hands dirty while growing their own food. They might just be inclined to try some new foods they wouldn’t ordinarily try (I know this works since I saw it happen with my own 6-year old son.)
A good place to start is with the containers. Garden pots can be made from a wide variety of raw materials like wood, stone, clay, plastic, etc. The safest material that I would recommend for your kids is plastic since it is really hard to break and its lightweight. The second best option is wood. Usually wood containers don’t hold water well and are used for decoration. You will probably end up putting the pot that holds our plant into the wood one.
This is a really good time to have your kids decorate the pots. On both wood and plastic, acrylic paint works great. Be sure to use paints that are non-toxic. Once your child is finished, pick out a location now where you want the pot to go since it will be harder and heavier to move when its filled with soil.
I recommend that instead of using just your average dirt, use a good potting soil. They are specially blended for small containers and hold water (a great benefit since there is less maintenance). Getting your plants off to a good start is always a great idea and is easy if you use the proper nutrients. Check the guide on the side of the fertilizer bag for the recommended amount to use. Just don’t add too much as this could kill the plants.
Whether flowers, vegetables, or herbs, choosing your plants by type is an easy way to start. Once you have the type picked out, choose the size of plant appropriate to the size of your pots. Some plants will require larger pots (like tomatoes). You can always transplant them into larger pots if they get too big for the pot you started with. This is a great project for your kids (and YOU). They are sure to love seeing (and also eating) the fruits of their labor.