Spring has sprung! The sky is blue, the flowers are popping up, the birds are chirping… and after reading Lois Ehlert’s Garden boxed set, my girls are chomping at the bit to start our seeds for this year’s garden. Unfortunately, it’s a few weeks too early here, with overnight temps still dropping below freezing. To appease them, I told them we could start garden preparations by making our own DIY garden markers inspired by Lois Ehlert’s Growing Vegetable Soup!
Kidmade DIY Garden Markers
There are so many reasons to garden with kids… not least of which is the fun and experience of growing your own food! Lois Ehlert’s Growing Vegetable Soup is a great starting point for the process as well. In the story, a young child and her Dad grow all the vegetables to make vegetable soup. In her beautiful, paper collage illustrations, Ehlert covers all the gardening tools and process required to grow plants from seed, and how to care for a garden.
After reading the book, the girls (ages 4 and 2) and I talked about what vegetables we should grow in our garden. Because of our New England climate and shorter growing season, as well as my novice skills, there are a few we opted to skip. Together, we decided on tomatoes, pumpkins, carrots, peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, peppers, and an assortment of herbs.
DIY Garden Markers – Supplies
With our list of garden vegetables set, it was time to prepare our DIY garden markers. Last year, when we started our seeds, I made some quick and simple ones using Sharpies to label craft sticks. They did not weather well. This year, I wanted to create something more permanent.
Cost: Less than $20
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 10 minutes
To make our more permanent DIY garden markers, I decided to use wooden kitchen spoons. You can find an assortment of sizes in multi-count packs. I used this set of 12-inch ones from Amazon. I was very pleased by the quality for the cost. Next, I found this Patio Paint for ~$1.50 / each at my local craft store. It is designed for outdoor use and is water and weather resistant, once set. We used red, orange, goldenrod yellow, and a dark and light green, to match the list of vegetables we plan to grow. Last, you will need two oil-based, Sharpie paint pens, in black and green, to draw images and/or label your garden markers.
Making DIY Garden Markers
Making the markers was easy enough that my 2 and 4 year old did it almost entirely themselves. I laid out a plastic tablecloth to protect their craft table, and put the Patio Paint on a large paper plate. Using foam brushes, they painted the heads of the wooden spoons, front, back and the edges. We made red spoons for the tomatoes and peppers, orange spoons for the carrots and pumpkins, a yellow spoon for the squash, and so on.
We laid them out on the plastic tablecloth to dry overnight. The next day, I used the Sharpie paint pens to draw images of each of the vegetables and herbs on the spoon, along with the name of the plant.
Now they are all ready to go for when we start our seeds later in April! They also would make amazing gifts for grandmothers for Mother’s Day! See just how easy they are to make in the video below.
Get Your Garden Observation Journal
Extend the learning fun from the garden ALL season long with our Garden Observation Journal! Ideal for children from preschool through high school, you can record the stages of life of each vegetable in your garden, including dates and total harvest!
More Gardening Fun for Kids
For more awesome gardening ideas to share with your family, be sure to check out these great posts from our favorite, fellow kids activity bloggers.
Build a Butterfly Garden | Nemcsok Farms
Invitation to Cut Flowers | Crafty Kids at Home
Free Printable Garden Markers | Sunny Day Family
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our fun gardening activities from last season including How Does Your Garden Grow? and Germination Windows, to let your child see how seeds sprout before their very eyes! You can find all of these on our How Does Your Garden Grow? board on Pinterest.