How to Plant Sunflower Seeds With Kids


Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are an appropriate flower to use as a teaching aid for children's gardening. Small fingers can hold the large sunflower seeds. In addition, sunflower plants grow quickly and sprout in about 11 days, completing its life cycle in only a couple of months, as noted by the Iowa State University Extension Service. Sunflowers, an annual, grow in nearly any type of soil. They need at least six hours of sunlight each day and require little pest control.

Step 1

Soak peat pellets in warm water for 30 minutes until the pellets have swelled up. Help kids place the pellets on a tray and insert two sunflower seeds in the middle of each peat pellet.

Step 2

Place the tray in a warm site with bright light. Have kids spray the pellets with water whenever the soil feels dry in the peat pellets. Once the plants reach 2 inches tall, help children pull out the weaker of the two sprouts. Thinning the sunflower plants at this stage will create a more vigorous plant later.

Step 3

Weed and loosen the soil in the sunflower garden with a shovel to the depth of eight inches with the kids after all danger of spring frost has passed.

Step 4

Help the children dig a hole as deep as the first leaves on the sunflower stem with a hand trowel. Place the sunflower seedling in the hole along with the peat pellet. Have the kids fill the hole with soil around the plant.

Step 5

Firm the soil gently around the sunflower seedling and water thoroughly. Help kids plant the rest of the sunflower plants 15 to 36 inches apart, depending on the mature size of the sunflower plant and instructions on the seed packet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Help kids find a sunny spot and one where you can see the blooms. Sunflowers face the sun while growing, so find a place where they will face your house instead of your neighbor's house.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat pellets
  • Warm water
  • Tray
  • Shovel
  • Hand trowel


  • Washington State University Clark County Extension: Garden Mastery Tips--Sunflowers
  • Iowa State University Extension: The Sunflower is a Fun Flower
  • Purdue University: Helianthus annuus L.

Who Can Help

  • Penn State Cooperative Extension: Top Five Plants for Kids PDF
Keywords: plant sunflower seeds, kid gardening, kids planting sunflowers

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.