Getting your hands dirty in the garden is a great way to spend time with your kids. Most children already love playing in the dirt, so what better way to pass the hours than to cultivate a green space?

    Whether you’re planting a vegetable garden or growing a succulent plant indoors, gardening provides kids with invaluable life experiences and lessons. Your kids will learn responsibility, essential aspects of science, and understand the special climate of Phoenix. Here are the top gardening activities to do with your kids this spring.

    1. Plant a vegetable garden

    Growing a vegetable garden is a fantastic way to show children they’ll be rewarded for their hard work. It’s also a failsafe way to get your kids to eat more greens. Go through the seed catalog with your son or daughter, and decide together what you’re going to plant. If you’re planting outdoors, make sure you plant veggies that grow well in Phoenix.  In this desert climate, many things won’t thrive.

    Even if you don’t have a lot of space outside, there are dozens of plants you can grow in planters indoors – think cherry tomatoes and lettuce.

    If you have very young children, consider growing quick-maturing plants, like radishes or spinach, so that they can reap the benefits of their work more quickly.

    2. Grow your own herbs

    Do you have a pizza fanatic on your hand? Consider growing an herb garden. While a full-scale vegetable garden requires a bit more space, you can grow an herb garden on the windowsill for as little as a few dollars. Common herbs like parsley and oregano are easy to grow, and the harvest can then translate to a cooking lesson.

    If you decide to create an outdoor herb garden, you can grow a more extensive array of plants. Remember, many of these herbs also keep pests at bay, so that you may have the opportunity for a two-in-one biology lesson here. .

    3. Make a hanging basket for Grandma

    Nothing spells a day of fun quite like creating a hanging basket. All you need is a wire basket and a liner, along with some potting mix and some flowering annuals to plant. Help your son or daughter fill the basket with potting mix and the flowers, and you’ll have a lovely gift for that special relative or friend in your child’s life.

    4. Start a compost pile

    A compost pile might not be the prettiest project in the world, but it’s a great way to get your son or daughter involved in every aspect of maintaining a closed-system garden. You can start a box outdoors or even just a small vermicomposting bin in the basement. Your child can take over responsibility for filling the compost once it’s built, and you’ll be able to instill a sense of autonomy as well as an understanding of the circle of life.

    5. Create an indoor oasis

    Even if you live in the heart of Phoenix, there are easy ways to get your child’s hands digging into the dirt. An indoor garden is a great way to show your son or daughter that life can exist in all places, shapes, and forms, and gives you many options to boot. Consider making a terrarium or sprouting some seeds indoors, or try a succulent garden as a low-maintenance experiment. Plus during the summer heat, who doesn’t want to hang out indoors?

    6. Teach your kids about desert plants

    Your kids are fortunate enough to be in beautiful Arizona, but life here means a few different things.  In the desert climate of Phoenix, we all know the beauty of cacti and succulents that are foreign to Californians.

    7. Finish what you started

    Once you’ve got the garden planted, it doesn’t mean your work is finished! You need to carry the task through to completion, and that includes weeding, watering and gathering your harvest. These tasks help your kids learn more about plant biology and give them a sense of responsibility.

    The best part? You’ll encourage your children to grow potatoes instead of becoming couch potatoes! Both of you will really dig these top gardening activities to do with your kids.