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Creative Container Gardening Ideas for Kids

Creative Container Gardening Ideas for Kids

parents and teachers May 29, 2024

Container gardening is a way to introduce children to the joys of growing their food even in limited spaces. Whether you're a parent looking to involve your kids in a hobby, a grandparent passing down a timeless tradition or a teacher incorporating hands on learning container gardening is an fulfilling activity.

In todays world where space's often, at a premium container gardening offers a versatile way to bring nature into our homes and classrooms. It not only adds beauty to our spaces but also imparts valuable lessons in biology, ecology and healthy eating habits to children.

This blog will delve into ideas for container gardening tailored for small areas. From choosing the containers and plants to engaging children in educational gardening projects we will provide all the information needed to kickstart your own container garden. Whether you're a gardener or just starting out our suggestions and inspirations will motivate you to nurture a garden and make cherished memories with the young ones, in your life.

Benefits of Growing Plants, in Containers for Children

Container gardening has benefits that're perfect, for small spaces and city living making it a great way to introduce kids to gardening. Lets explore the advantages of container gardening for children:

Fits Any Space

Growing plants in containers allows kids to garden in spots like balconies, patios or windowsills. This flexibility means families and schools without gardens can still enjoy growing their food.

Simple to Handle

Containers are easier for kids to manage than garden beds. They can be moved around for sunlight rearranged for looks and brought indoors when the weather is rough. This mobility makes it easier for kids to take care of their plants and see them thrive.

Customize Growing Conditions

Through container gardening children can adjust the needs of their plants. They get hands on experience with choosing the soil mix ensuring drainage, and keeping an eye on water levels. This control teaches them about plant needs and how environmental factors affect growth.

Quick and Visible Results

Growing plants, in containers often leads to more exciting outcomes especially for young gardeners. Plants such as herbs, lettuce and radishes grow quickly allowing children to see progress easily and stay motivated. Witnessing results can boost their confidence give them a sense of achievement.

Versatility and Creativity

The variety of containers allows for a range of gardening projects. Kids can personalize their containers by painting them adding decorations or using items like toys or kitchenware. This freedom to be creative not only makes the gardening experience more fun it also encourages children to use their imagination and artistic abilities.

Learning about Plant Varieties

Container gardening exposes children to plant species that thrive in confined spaces. They can try growing herbs, small vegetables or even miniature fruit trees. This exposure helps them learn about the diversity of plants and how adaptable they can be inspiring them to explore types of plants and their purposes.

Reduced Risk of Pests and Weeds

By keeping plants in containers, above ground level the risk of pests and weeds commonly found in gardens is minimized.
Engaging children, in gardening can be an experience making it easier for them to enjoy caring for plants without the challenges of traditional gardens.

Accessibility and Inclusion

In terms of accessibility and inclusivity container gardening offers a option for kids with physical limitations. Customizable raised containers and vertical gardening setups cater to needs ensuring that every child can partake in and appreciate the joys of gardening. This inclusive approach makes container gardening ideal for schools and families with special needs.

Through container gardening children can delight in cultivating their produce in limited spaces. The unique benefits of this method provide an interactive way for kids to explore nature learn about responsibility and embrace eating habits.

Choosing the Right Containers

Selecting the right containers plays a role in creating a thriving container garden especially when gardening with children in limited spaces. The right containers can promote plant growth ensure drainage and bring a touch of creativity to your garden. Below is a guide to assist you in choosing the suitable containers for your container gardening endeavors:

Significance of Container Choice

The type of container you opt for can significantly influence the wellbeing and development of your plants. It is essential that containers are appropriately sized to support root expansion, have drainage to prevent overwatering, and are crafted from materials that can withstand varying weather conditions. Additionally for children's involvement it is crucial that the containers are safe and easy to maneuver.

Varieties of Containers Ideal for Compact Spaces

  1. Pots and Planters: These traditional options come in different sizes, shapes and materials like plastic, clay or ceramic. They are choices for various plants and simple for kids to handle. Even though if you choose clay it's best to plant those plants that need less water and are more drought tolerant, as clay pots lose water very rapidly.

  2. Hanging Baskets: Perfect for utilizing space, hanging baskets work well with trailing plants such as strawberries and select herbs. They not only add an appeal but also keep plants out of reach of pets. But again be careful which hanging baskets you choose, as those with exposed coco coir as the main container, lose water very quickly.

  3. Window Boxes: These elongated narrow containers are good fits for window ledges, balconies or railings. Some of them are also not too tall which limits root space. That makes them not ideal for deep rooted plants such as tomatoes, and more suitable for shallow rooted ones such as radish or leaf lettuce.

  4. Vertical Planters: These are a good option for growing herbs, small flowers, and compact vegetables like lettuce. These gardening systems allow you to grow plants in a space. They are perfect for herbs, leafy greens and flowers.

  5. Grow Bags: Made from breathable fabric, grow bags, which are portable containers are ideal for root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. They can be easily moved around to ensure sunlight exposure.

  6. Sub-Irrigated Containers: Sub irrigated containers like the Caja Planters from The Growing Connection offer a way to efficiently manage water. These containers feature a built in water reservoir that provides moisture to the roots making them suitable for families and classrooms. These containers are by far my favorite of them all especially when growing with kids.

  7. Repurposed Items: Get creative by repurposing household items like buckets, colanders, tin cans and toys as plant containers. This eco friendly approach not only adds fun to gardening, it also engages kids in the process. Only thing I have to warn you about is, if you are growing food, be sure the container you repurpose does not leach harmful and unhealthy chemicals into your soil.

Tips on Choosing Containers with Good Drainage

When selecting containers, for your plants ensure they have drainage to prevent root rot and promote growth.
Here are some suggestions to make sure your plant containers have drainage:

  • Opt for containers with drilled drainage holes or create holes in the bottom of those without them.
  • Add a layer of gravel or small stones at the base of the container to enhance drainage.
  • Use potting mix specifically formulated for containers as it is lighter and allows airflow compared to garden soil.
  • And my favorite choice, use sub-irrigated planters as this would be the most natural way to water plants from below, preventing over and under-watering of your plants, saving you a lot of time and headaches too.

Selecting Plants for Planting in Containers

Picking the plants is crucial for a container garden especially when involving children. The best plants for container gardening are those that thrive in spaces and offer quick satisfying outcomes. Here's a guide to help you choose the plants for your container gardening endeavors:

Top Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs for Container Gardening

  1. Tomatoes: For growing at home opt for varieties like cherry or patio tomatoes that work well in containers. For growing in schools, cherry tomatoes are not idea as they keep ripening during summer when the students are not around. But they yield plenty of fruits that kids enjoy picking and eating at home.

  2. Lettuce and Leafy Greens: growing greens such as lettuce, spinach and kale can be harvested many times throughout the season. They are perfect for teaching children about harvesting.

  3. Peppers: Both sweet and hot peppers can flourish in containers adding a touch of color to any garden.

  4. Radishes: Radishes grow quickly making them ideal for gardeners who're eager to see results within 3 to 4 weeks.

  5. Carrots: Select types like Nantes or Thumbelina that don't need deep soil. Kids will have fun pulling these out from the ground.

  6. Herbs: Basil, parsley, mint, chives and cilantro are great options for cultivating in containers.
    these are plants that are great for kids to grow and use in cooking.

  7. Strawberries: Kids love strawberries. They can be grown in hanging baskets or containers. Make sure you protect the fruit from birds so your kids can enjoy them.

Kid-Friendly Plants That Are Easy to Grow and Harvest

  1. Sunflowers: Dwarf sunflowers are easy to grow in pots and produce flowers that kids enjoy.

  2. Snap Peas: Watching snap peas climb and produce pods is fun, for kids. They can be trained to climb on trellises in containers. You do need to provide them proper support to climb though!

  3. Beans: Growing bush beans is simple. They have pods that're easy for kids to pick. It's a way for them to learn about legumes and nitrogen fixation.

  4. Marigolds: These colorful flowers can keep pests away. Attract pollinators, which's helpful for container gardens. And did you know that they are edible?

Plants That Do Well in Small Spaces and Different Lighting Conditions

  • Shade-Tolerant Plants: If your space doesn't get sunlight consider growing shade plants, like lettuce spinach, arugula, parsley and mint.
  • Sun-Loving Plants: Plants that thrive in sunlight include tomatoes, peppers and basil. It's essential to place these containers where they can soak up 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily.

To keep your garden year round follow this planting guide

  • Spring: In spring kick off with cool season crops, like lettuce, spinach, radishes and peas that do well in weather.
  • Summer: Transition to warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and beans during the summer months. Herbs such as basil and thyme also do well when its warm.
  • Fall: As fall approaches and temperatures drop, go back to cool season crops like kale, broccoli and carrots. You can plant these in summer for a fall harvest.
  • Winter: During winter months when its cold outside consider growing indoors using containers on windowsills or under grow lights. Herbs, lettuce, and microgreens are good options for indoor gardening in winter.

Choosing the plants is crucial for a container gardening experience for kids. By offering a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs with flavors and colors to explore year round, gardening becomes a learning experience for children.

Fun and Educational Gardening Projects

Container gardening offers numerous opportunities for fun and educational projects that can engage kids and enhance their learning experience. Here are some creative project ideas that can be easily executed in small spaces:

Creating a Mini Herb Garden for the Kitchen

A mini herb garden is a perfect project for introducing kids to container gardening. Herbs are easy to grow and can be used in cooking, making the garden practical and educational.


  1. Choose a variety of herbs like basil, parsley, thyme, and mint.
  2. Select small pots or a long planter box that fits on a windowsill.
  3. Help kids plant the herbs, ensuring they use the appropriate soil mix.
  4. Teach them how to water the plants properly and place them in a sunny spot.
  5. Encourage kids to use the herbs in simple recipes, such as making homemade pizza or herbal tea.

Growing a Salad Garden with Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, and Cucumbers

A salad garden is a fun project that can provide kids with a fresh and healthy snack.


  1. Select a large, shallow container or multiple small containers.
  2. Choose varieties of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and bush cucumbers that are suitable for containers.
  3. Help kids plant the seeds or seedlings, spacing them appropriately.
  4. Teach them about watering, sunlight requirements, and how to care for each type of plant.
  5. Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, have a family salad-making activity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Making a Sensory Garden with Fragrant and Textured Plants

A sensory garden stimulates the senses and is an excellent way for kids to explore different plant characteristics.


  1. Choose a variety of plants that offer different textures and scents, such as lavender, rosemary, lamb’s ear, and peppermint.
  2. Select containers of various sizes and shapes to add visual interest.
  3. Help kids plant the sensory garden, explaining the unique features of each plant.
  4. Encourage them to touch, smell, and observe the plants regularly, noting any changes.
  5. Use the sensory garden as a tool to teach about plant biology and the five senses.

Designing a Themed Garden (e.g., Pizza Garden with Basil, Tomatoes, and Peppers)

Themed gardens are a fun way to make gardening relatable and exciting for kids. A pizza garden, for example, can include all the ingredients needed for a homemade pizza.


  1. Choose a large container or multiple smaller containers for the garden.
  2. Select plants that are commonly used in pizza, such as basil, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and oregano.
  3. Help kids plant the garden, spacing the plants to allow for growth.
  4. Teach them how to care for each plant, including watering and sunlight needs.
  5. When the plants are ready to harvest, have a pizza-making party where kids can use the ingredients they’ve grown.

Creating a Butterfly Garden with Pollinator-Friendly Plants

A butterfly garden can attract pollinators and teach kids about the importance of these creatures in the ecosystem.


  1. Select a variety of pollinator-friendly plants like milkweed, zinnias, marigolds, and lavender.
  2. Choose containers that can be placed in a sunny spot, as most pollinator plants need full sun.
  3. Help kids plant the garden, explaining the role of pollinators in plant reproduction.
  4. Encourage kids to observe the garden regularly and note any visiting butterflies or bees.
  5. Use the garden as a starting point to discuss broader topics such as pollination, ecosystems, and biodiversity.

These projects not only make container gardening enjoyable for kids but also provide valuable learning experiences. By involving children in these fun and educational activities, you can foster a love for gardening and nature that will last a lifetime.

Incorporating Container Gardening into Homeschooling Education

Container gardening offers homeschooling parents a dynamic and hands-on way to enrich their children's education while nurturing their curiosity and love for nature. Here's how homeschooling families can integrate container gardening into their educational curriculum:

Hands-On Learning Opportunities

  1. Science Experiments: Use container gardening to explore scientific concepts such as plant growth, photosynthesis, and ecosystems. Conduct experiments to observe the effects of different growing conditions on plant development.
  2. Mathematics: Incorporate math skills by measuring plant growth, calculating soil volume, and tracking watering schedules. Turn gardening activities into practical math lessons that reinforce key concepts.
  3. Language Arts: Encourage reading and writing about gardening topics. Have children research plants, write garden journals, or create stories inspired by their gardening experiences.
  4. Art and Creativity: Use gardening as a platform for artistic expression. Let children design and decorate their containers, create garden-themed artwork, or document their garden through photography or drawing.

Life Skills Development

  1. Responsibility and Patience: Teach children responsibility and patience as they care for their plants over time. Gardening requires regular attention and commitment, fostering important life skills.
  2. Healthy Living: Use gardening to promote healthy eating habits and environmental awareness. Discuss the importance of fresh, homegrown produce and the benefits of sustainable gardening practices.
  3. Problem-Solving: Encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills as children troubleshoot issues like pests, diseases, and environmental factors affecting their plants.
  4. Creativity and Innovation: Foster creativity and innovation through garden design, plant selection, and DIY projects like creating homemade plant markers or building trellises for climbing plants.

Introducing the Oasis Box: A Seasonal Subscription Box for Gardening Fun

For homeschooling families looking to enhance their container gardening experience, consider subscribing to the Oasis Box. This seasonal subscription box is packed with engaging activities, seeds, tools, and resources designed to inspire and educate kids about gardening. Each box contains everything you need to embark on exciting gardening adventures with your children, making learning fun and interactive. For more information and to subscribe, visit Oasis Box.

Incorporating container gardening into homeschooling education provides children with valuable hands-on learning experiences that extend beyond the confines of traditional classroom settings. By nurturing a connection to nature and fostering essential life skills, homeschooling parents can cultivate a love for learning that will grow alongside their children's garden.


Integrating Container Gardening into Educational Curriculum

Container gardening offers a wealth of educational opportunities that can be seamlessly integrated into school curriculums. By incorporating gardening projects into the classroom, teachers can provide students with hands-on learning experiences that complement traditional academic subjects. Here are some ways to integrate container gardening into the educational curriculum:

Aligning Gardening Activities with School Subjects

  1. Science: Use container gardening to teach biology and ecology. Students can learn about plant life cycles, photosynthesis, soil science, and the role of insects in pollination.
  2. Math: Incorporate math lessons by measuring plant growth, calculating the area and volume of containers, and tracking watering schedules.
  3. Art: Encourage creativity by having students decorate their plant containers and create garden-themed art projects.
  4. Language Arts: Have students write about their gardening experiences, keep a gardening journal, or read and discuss books about plants and nature.
  5. Social Studies: Discuss the importance of agriculture in different cultures and the impact of gardening on communities and the environment.

Planning Classroom Projects Around Container Gardening

  • Mini Greenhouse Projects: Set up mini greenhouses using clear containers to demonstrate the greenhouse effect and plant germination. Students can observe the growth process from seed to sprout.
  • Themed Gardens: Create themed container gardens, such as a "Three Sisters" garden (corn, beans, and squash) to teach about Native American agricultural practices.
  • Herb Gardens: Plant a variety of herbs and use them in classroom cooking activities, teaching students about healthy eating and culinary skills.

Collaborating with Parents and Community for Extended Learning

  • Family Gardening Nights: Host evening or weekend gardening events where students and their families can work on container gardening projects together.
  • Community Garden Projects: Partner with local community gardens to provide students with additional gardening space and resources.
  • Guest Speakers and Workshops: Invite local gardeners, horticulturists, or farmers to speak to students about different aspects of gardening and plant care.

Utilizing Gardening Apps and Online Resources for Interactive Learning

  • Gardening Apps: Use apps that help track plant growth, provide gardening tips, and identify plants. These tools can make gardening more interactive and engaging for students.
  • Online Resources: Explore websites and online platforms that offer educational content related to gardening. Videos, tutorials, and virtual garden tours can enhance the learning experience.

Integrating the Oasis Program Suite

For a comprehensive and structured approach to integrating container gardening into the educational curriculum, consider utilizing the Oasis Program Suite. This suite offers a range of programs designed to support gardening education at various levels:

  1. Oasis Classroom: Tailored for individual classrooms, this program provides resources and lesson plans to help teachers incorporate gardening into their daily teaching.
  2. Oasis School: A school-wide program that encourages the entire school community to engage in gardening projects, promoting collaboration and collective learning.
  3. Caja Oasis: Focuses on using Caja Planters for sub-irrigated gardening, providing an efficient and innovative way to manage classroom gardens.
  4. Oasis Earth Day: Special projects and activities designed to celebrate Earth Day through gardening, emphasizing environmental stewardship and sustainability.
  5. Oasis Kinder 1 & 2: Specially designed for those students who are still not fluent in reading, such as kindergarteners and grades 1 and 2.

For more information on these programs and how to get started, visit Oasis Program Suite.


In Conclusion... 

Container gardening is a way to teach children about nature, responsibility, and the joy of growing their food in limited spaces. It offers parents, grandparents, and teachers an educational activity that encourages learning and creativity. By selecting containers and plants well as engaging in fun projects you can establish a thriving container garden that will both inspire and educate children all year round.

The advantages of container gardening go beyond the pleasure of harvesting produce at home. It imparts lessons, in biology, ecology and healthy eating habits to kids while promoting traits like responsibility and patience. Whether you're cultivating a herb garden, a vegetable patch or a butterfly sanctuary the opportunities for learning and development are limitless.

For teachers, incorporating container gardening into the curriculum can turn classrooms into learning spaces. Programs such as the Oasis Program Suite offer resources to assist schools in integrating gardening initiatives. These programs not only enrich the journey but also encourage environmental awareness and community engagement.

By embracing container gardening practices you're not only planting seeds in soil; you're also nurturing seeds of curiosity, responsibility and a lifelong appreciation for nature, within young hearts and minds.

Get your pots ready, pick out your plants, and dive into the world of gardening today. The benefits are as plentiful as the fruits of your labor. For assistance and guidance check out the Oasis Program Suite and Oasis Box to explore ways to incorporate gardening into your learning and family time.