Getting kids interested in gardening encourages them to make healthier choices about what they eat, teaches them patience and the equation between plain old hard work and a productive end result. But gardening isn't all work, and there are plenty of gardening projects you can involve your kids in that are just plain fun to do.
Autograph vegetable activity
A great, incredibly fun and interesting project for kids is scratching names in garden vegetables. Yes, you heard me right. Personalizing pumpkins or other gourds in this way will delight kids for months, and guarantees that you'll have a personal gardening friend who's ready and willing to help with yard work. So the question is how to make personalized pumpkins?
How to make personalized pumpkins
Scratching names into garden vegetables like pumpkins or other hard squash and melons is easy and guaranteed to delight the youngest child as well as older children. Supervision is required for young children.
The first step is to plant the pumpkin or other hard gourd. Plant the seeds in May or after the last frost in your region. Seeding should be done in well prepared soil by digging in old manure or compost. Water and wait for germination according to the instructions on the seed packet. Keep the area around the plants free of weeds to keep pests and diseases away, and mulch around the pumpkin with straw or something similar. Fertilize the pumpkin every two weeks.
Shortly after flowers are set on the vine, tiny pumpkins or gourds appear. You have to wait until the fruit is a couple of inches (7.5 to 13 cm) in diameter before scratching names in garden vegetables. When the fruit reaches this size, have the kids write their initials on the pumpkin with a marker. Then with a paring knife, cut the initials just slightly through the outer skin (if kids are small, an adult will have to do this part).
As the pumpkin grows, so do the initials or design! If you want the pumpkin or other etched squash to grow bigger, remove other fruit on the vine so all the nutrients get there.
Besides initials, children can get creative. Designs, whole sentences and faces can all be carved into the pumpkin. In fact, this is a nice way to carve pumpkins for Halloween. Once the skin of the pumpkins is hard and orange, it's time to harvest, usually after the first light frost in the fall. When you cut the squash, leave 3-4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) of stem on the fruit.
After the pumpkin as a "pumpkin lantern" or work of art has been enjoyed, there is no point in wasting this guy. Time for another fun project. Let the children guess the number of seeds in the pumpkin. Then let them dig up the seeds and count them. Wash the seeds and roast them in the oven, lightly sprinkled with salt for 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees F., Stir every 10-15 minutes. Yum! This is a fun and delicious project for kids … And their parents.