Many gardeners fell in love with plants and dirt as a child. If you are a gardener, chances are your parents were too. Working in the yard is a wonderful legacy to pass on to children who have an innate love of the outdoors. When thinking about what to plant, consider something that is easy to care for and that will grow quickly. If the plant produces something edible, that's an added bonus.
Sunflowers are fun plants for children to grow because they grow very quickly, they get quite large and the kids can eat the fruits of their labor. Within two weeks of planting seeds, sunflower seedlings should reach 2 inches in height and after a month the sunflower will be over 2 feet tall. Four weeks later the flower will open and the children can delight in all the seed kernels. When the plant is four months old the seeds will be ready to harvest. Look for confectionary sunflower seeds as those are the flowers that develop the familiar black and white seeds.
Snow pea is another quick-growing plant that will deliver a harvest that the kids can pick and eat right from the vine. Choose a partially shady location to plant the snow pea seeds, which will germinate in a week to 10 days, and be ready to pick in two months. You can generally pick snow peas within a week after flowering, while the pods are still flat. Snow peas are a cool weather plant and won't do well once the temperatures reach 70 degrees F. Try the "Snowbird" variety for fast growth.
Mimosa is also known as the sensitive plant, because when you touch its leaves they will close up. This is an easy plant to grow and will sprout within days of planting the seed. The first few leaves are not "true" leaves so they won't be sensitive to touch. Within three to four weeks of planting, however, the sensitive leaves will show up and your children will have a blast playing with them. Mimosa pudica needs warm, sunny weather and highly acidic soil.