On The Early Show Thursday, Tara Heibel, House & Garden (www.houseandgarden.com) magazine's "Tastemaker 2007," showed how to make gardening fun for kids, and educational, as well.
For starters, she says picking certain plants or flowers can help enhance all the senses.
SELECTING PLANTS FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Color: Kids are attracted to color and color combinations that are bright and vibrant.
Durability: Select plants that can stand up to a toddler's hands, plants that have strong stalks and flower heads. Also, pick plants that can withstand a wide range of conditions, so you can teach your child to take care of them, with a larger margin for error.
Flower power: Plants that have multiple flower heads at one time will keep your child's interest.
Fragrance: By choosing flowers that are fragrant, you can help your youngsters develop their sense of smell.
TOP THREE PLANTS
ECHINACEA "Cone Flower": This genus, comprising nine species of summer-flowering perennials, some of which grow as tall as seven feet high, belongs to the daisy family. The flower-heads are large and multiple. The flowers are normally pink-to-purple in color, but there are many unusual cultivars that can be orange-to-yellow, as well. They grow very freely in temperate gardens, thriving in an open, sunny spot with well-drained, humus-rich soil that's kept moist in summer. Staking is sometimes required. The cones are even attractive even after the flower is gone. They're great for cutting, and an incredible bird and butterfly attractor.
LAVANDULA: This genus belongs to the large mint family, which includes herbs such as sage and rosemary. Lavender is an incredibly fragrant herb that's very popular in various garden settings. They must be in full sun and well-drained soil. All will bloom with pink-to-purple small spikes of flowers with varying intensity of color and perfume. A child just has to walk by to smell it and, better yet, touch the herb for an even more intense experience.
STACHYS: A wonderfully textured foliage plant that will spread in the garden. Requires well-drained, open soil in full sun. Silver foliage really does look and feel like a lamb's ear! Kids can't help but want to pet it!
OTHER PROJECTS FOR CHILDREN
If you don't have an outdoor space to plant in, or if it happens to be raining outside, there are many wonderful projects you can do with your child inside. There are products on the market such as egglings, nyokki and taterpots that teach a child to grow plants from seed, and also have fun things to look at while the seeds are growing.
To watch the video of the segment,