16 Indoor Gardening Activities for Kids these winters school holidays

indoor gardening activities school holidays kids winter

 

 

Planter Ideas

 

  • Milk/juice bottle with the side or top cut off 
  • Juice carton with the side or top cut off 
  • Plastic tomato and strawberry containers
  • Pots
  • Chinese containers (but only if deep enough)
  • Pizza box (but only if deep enough)
  • Shoe box or other cardboard box

 

Remember to punch 3 drainage holes in your planter.

I DO NOT recommend egg cartons or toilet rolls.  These dry out very quickly and can set people up to fail.  If you do wish to use them, place them in a shallow dish of water (0.5cm max) and allow them to wick the water up from the base.  You want your seeds moist, not wet. They are only appropriate until the seed has sprouted and then need to be transplanted into the garden or pot.

Soil

I recommend buying a bag of seed raising mix (they are small bags which are perfect). 

(If you want to use potting mix I encourage you to listen to my Podcast, Growing Vegetables Down Under Episode 2, where I discuss the issues with potting mix.)

Watering

It is best you use a spray bottle and mist your seeds as opposed to pouring water in.  Water will drain through the soil faster and risk overwatering.  Mist every day.  Every. Day!

Position

This guide is designed for planting indoors in the cooler months.  Place your planters close to windows so they can receive direct and indirect sunlight throughout the day.  A room that is heated is better but not necessary.  

Day 1 - Radishes from seeds

grow radishes with kidsAlthough kids may not be all too interested in eating radishes, because they are fast growing, and look cool, they will be fun to watch.  The smaller they are, the less sharp they taste.

Container: 15cm deep x 5cm wide per radish.  

Planting: Plant one seed per 5m2

Position: as much sun as available

Harvest: 6 - 10 weeks depending on warmth and sunlight.  

 

 

Day 2 -  Regrow Spring Onions from food scraps

grow spring onions from scraps off cuts seed kids school holidays

These can be grown from seed, however, it is faster to grow from off cuts.  

Container: a jar for water method, or a container at least 5cm deep for soil method

Planting: Cut the white part off a spring onion.  Either stand the roots in 2cm of water (change water daily), or plant the roots and 1cm of the white stem in soil.  

Position: happy anywhere.  Seeds need sunlight to warm the soil.

Harvestwill resprout in 24 - 48 hours.

Day 3 - Lettuce from seeds

grow lettuce with kids from seed

Lettuce are quick to sprout from seed.  We will be growing from food scraps later.

Container: at least 10cm x 10cm per plant

Planting: fill with soil and poke a hole 1cm deep.  Sprinkle 2 seeds. (They are very small so don't worry if there are more.  But when they sprout, reduce to 1 - 2 seedlings per hole).

Position: direct sunlight for a few hours per day.

Harvest: will take about 30 days to have leaves worth harvesting depending on the amount of sunlight.  Harvest leaves not the whole plant for a continuous crop.

Day 4 - Microgreens

grow microgreens with kids school holidays indoors winterIf you don't know what microgreens are, check out my blog post.

Container: any size.  A Chinese container is perfect.

Planting: fill container with soil.  Add water and mix around till soil is moist.  Pat soil down.  Sprinkle seeds on top and pat down (no need to bury).  Place lid on top.  You can sprout anything, but broccoli and other brassicas or lettuce have a mild flavour and are best for kids.

Position: indirect sunlight (kitchen bench is great).  Mist daily and check to see if seeds have sprouted.  Once sprouted, take lid off.

Harvest: at any time.  Just cut off what you need and sprinkle on top of ANYTHING!

  

Day 5 - Spinach from seeds

grow spinach with kids school holidays winter indoors

Probably not the first thing you think off to feed kids, but chop it up finely and stir it into food.  I also freeze it and add to smoothies.  When added frozen it doesn't turn the smoothie green!  Otherwise I just call it a Shrek smoothie....!

 Container: use a milk or juice bottle with the top cut off for at least 20cm of soil depth

Planting:  poke a hole and add 2 seeds per bottle for varieties such a perpetual.  If you want to grow baby spinach, buy specific baby spinach seeds.  Use a milk bottle with the side cut out, and sprinkle the seeds evenly over the top.  
Position: a few hours of direct sun to warm the soil so it sprouts.  The more sun the faster it grows but indirect light is fine too.  
Harvest: You can harvest leaves individually once large enough.  Plant outside at any time.  This spinach plant will live for years in the same place.  It will go to flower in spring.  Leave it for the bees, and cut back the plant in February for new growth.  

Day 6 - Grow Baby Carrots from seed

 grow baby carrots from seeds with kidsBaby carrots will be ready to eat in about 4 weeks, whilst larger carrots will take about 8 weeks and need a deeper pot.

Container: 10cm deep x 5cm wide for every carrot

Planting: 3/4 fill container with soil. Add water and mix until moist.  Level out soil level.  Sprinkle the seeds over the surface of the soil. Cover with no more than 1cm of soil.  Mist

Position: near a window with a few hours of direct light is best but will grow in indirect light.  Growth will be much slower.

Harvest:  move the soil around the base of the stems so you can see the top of the carrots.  The width of the top gives you an indication of how big the carrot is.  Harvest as needed.

Day 7 - Regrow Celery

regrow celery from scraps kids school holidays indoors

Cut the base off a celery leaving about 10cm.  Place the celery in a jar of water with just the base touching.  You can use toothpicks if necessary.

Container: once sprouted, plant in a milk carton with the top cut off.  Needs at least 20cm of soil, but the more the better as they have deep roots.

Planting: plant in the garden at any time.  It will go to seed in spring.  Let this happen and next year free celery will grow.

Position: the more sunlight the better.  Outdoors, part shade to full sun.

Harvest: you can harvest the stalks individually.

 

 

Day 8 - Alfalfa sprouts

grow alfalfa with kids indoors school holidays

These are a great salad topper.  Kids will probably have fun eating them.  

Container: glass jar, cloth and rubber band

Planting: pour seeds into the glass jar.  Seal with cloth and rubber band.  Add water to cover seeds and soak for 24hrs. Rinse, drain and repeat once or twice per day.  

Position: Store on an angle upside down to allow for drainage (I keep mine in the dishrack!)  If you want them to go greener, leave in the sun for 2 hours before eating.

Harvest: Once sprouted, store in fridge till ready to eat.  They will last for about 2 days.

 

Day 9 - Regrowing Lettuce

grow lettuce indoors with kids gardening school holidays

Chop the bottom off a lettuce.  This can be with our without roots.  Lettuces with roots will have a head start.
Container: glass jar and toothpicks
Planting: fill the jar with water and place the lettuce on the top.  If it has roots, you only want the roots submerged.  If it doesn't have roots, submerge only 1cm of the lettuce.  The remainder should be out the top of your jar.  Use toothpicks to prop up your lettuce if needed.  
Position: Place in direct sunlight for a few hours per day for fast growth, but will grow in indirect sunlight.  Once it has roots, you can either continue with the water method or plant in soil, indoors or outdoors (make sure you have a frost tolerant variety).  It will go to seed in spring and free lettuce will grow.  
Harvest: When the leaves are big enough to pull off.  If you harvest the whole lettuce you can regrow it forever!

Day 10 - Regrowing Carrots

grow carrots indoor with kids school holidays winter
We have baby carrots growing already, but this time we will be growing full sized carrots from food scraps.  Cut the top off a carrot.  
Container: glass jar or shallow dish, milk carton with the top cut off (see through is better as you may be able to see the carrot growing).
Planting: place the carrot top in water no deeper than 0.5cm.  Top up water daily.  When the carrot top has resprouted greens which are 2cm tall, plant into milk container.  When planting, mix soil and water in a bowl to combine and then add to milk container.  Plant carrot so that the top is only just visible and the greens are wholly above the surface.  
Position: Place on a window sill which gets a few hours of direct sunlight per day.
Harvest: in 10 weeks.  Then cut the top off and replant.  You can do this with the baby carrots as well.  

Day 11 - Regrow Onions from food scraps

regrow onions from scraps kids school holidays winter indoors
Cut the roots off the bottom of an onion.  It doesn't matter how many are there or how long they are, the onion will sprout new ones.  But it's important you use the bottom, not the top of the onion.
Container: glass jar or shallow dish, milk carton with the top cut off (see through is better as you may be able to see the onion growing).
Planting: place the onion bottom in water no deeper than 0.5cm.  Top up water daily.  When the onion bottom has resprouted little white roots that are about 0.5cm long, plant into milk container.  When planting, mix soil and water in a bowl to combine and then add to milk container.  Plant onion so that the top is only just visible above the surface, and then sprinkle a little dirty so it's half covered.  When green sprouts shoot, cover the the rest of the original onion.  
Position: Place on a window sill which gets a few hours of direct sunlight per day.
Harvest: Onions take a long time to grow.  How long will depend on how warm your house is and how much sunlight they get.  It will be between 6 - 9 months.  You can harvest any time after 6 months.  From this time it is just getting bigger.

Day 12 - Growing Beetroot

growing beetroot indoors with kids school holidays gardening
Container:
Planting:
Position:
Harvest:

Day 13 - Growing Sprouts

grow sprouts with kids indoors gardening school holidays
Container:
Planting:
Position:
Harvest:

Day 14 - Regrow leeks 

growing leeks indoors with kids gardening school holidays winter
Container:
Planting:
Position:
Harvest:

Day 15 - Grow Silverbeet

grow silverbeet swiss chard indoors with kids school holidays
Container:
Planting:
Position:
Harvest:

 

 

 

 

 

Day 16 - Grow Sweet Potato Slips 

grow sweet potato indoors with kids school holidays gardening

Note that sweet potatoes are a vine which produces potatoes under the soil.  You will need a very large pot, or a garden to grow these successfully.  Otherwise they are a pretty indoor plant.

Container: glass jar, pot

Planting: place the bottom of the sweet potato in a jar of water with at least 2cm submerged, but not more than 50% of the total sweet potato.  The top is the pointy end which was attached to the vine, whilst the bottom is the flatter end.  The sweet potato with grow shoots called "slips".  The slips that are submerged in water will grow roots, whilst those that are growing out of the sweet potato above the water line will not grow roots. 

Change the water daily.

If you want to grow an indoor vine, plant the whole potato into a pot. 

If you want to grow potatoes, you will need all your slips to grow roots.  Cut the top off your sweet potato which will have slips with no roots.  Place this portion in a new jar, completely submerging the sweet potato and the bottoms of the slips, but with the top of the slips out of the water.  This will encourage the slips to grow their own roots.  After 8 weeks you will have tall slips with lots of roots.  

Gently break off the slips.  Place one slip per large pot, or one every 30cm in the garden.  

Position: place in direct sunlight for a few hours per day for faster growth.  Once potted, place in at least 6 hours of sunlight for best results.

Harvest: In autumn, before the first frost, cut off the vine, and dig up your sweet potatoes.  They will all be attached to each which makes for easy harvesting.

 

16 Indoor Gardening Activities for Kids these winters school holidays