You can both teach and have fun with your kids through garden projects. Tailor the endeavor with the child's age in mind--the younger the child, the shorter the attention span. It's better to create a smaller project that will hold his attention than a larger one that will leave him (and you) frustrated. A garden project can create a magical world for young ones, who will see how their first planted seed grows into a full-sized plant that offers them fruit, vegetables or a bright flower.
Use a half wine barrel as a plant container for an older child; choose a large plastic pot or a small trash can for a younger child. Make sure that the planter, or makeshift planter, has drainage holes at the bottom so excess water can get out. You can easily drill holes in a plastic or wood container that needs them. Pick seeds that germinate quickly, such as sweet Williams, gloriosa daisies, Mexican marigolds, cucumbers or lettuce for younger children; or choose watermelon planted in larger containers for older kids. Let the kids decorate the planter with paints, markers and stickers to make it their very own. Also, encourage them to place small toy houses, animals and people in the garden soil.
Start sunflower seeds indoors. Teach your child how to start seeds, indoors, in paper cups or used yogurt containers. When the last frost of the season has passed, work with your child to plant the seedlings in a row in front of an outdoor fence. The sunflowers will grow taller and larger as the child waters them. Cut the flower heads and let them dry. He can collect the seeds and have them for a snack, but save some to feed to the birds over cold winter months.
Clay pots are inexpensive and easy to paint. Have your child paint two coats of a base color all over the pot and saucer with acrylic paint. Supply her with other colors of acrylic paint, stencils, glue and trinkets. Then, let her go wild and decorate the flower pot with all the freedom her creativity will allow. When she's done, spray a clear exterior sealer on the inside and outside of the pot. Take her to the nursery and help her to pick out a flower, herb or other plant to grow in the flowerpot. Make sure she understands that it's her responsibility to keep the plant alive by watering and placing it in the sunshine. As an alternate project, paint a face on the clay pot and grow grass seed inside. It will look like hair as it grows.