Plants That Kids Will Love
June 4, 2019
Plants and kids just go together and by letting kids explore in nature (even in your own backyard) they can have a better appreciation for the world they live in. Of course, some plants are no fun at all for kids, like poison ivy, Canada thistle and Poke Berry, and it’s important to know all about those plants, too. But other plants are nice to touch, delicious to eat, fun to play with and fun to grow, because it happens almost overnight!
Balloon plant (Platycodon varieties) come in pink and white but are mostly blue. Some varieties are short and some are tall, but all feature flower buds that are little balloons, filled with air, that can be “POPPED”. Sometimes they even make a popping noise! Like any balloon, they can only be popped once, so grow a ton of them!
Lambs ear (Stachys byzantia) is a sturdy perennial with thick, fuzzy, silver-gray leaves that very much echo the shape and feel of a lamb’s ear! They are just rugged enough to withstand constantly having leaves pulled off to touch and play with.
Cucamelons (Melothria scabra) are the perfect treat for little hands. Sometimes called “mouse melons” they look like exactly that, like a mouse-sized watermelon. Once you pop one in your mouth, whole, the taste is a little like a cucumber meets a watermelon, with a good crunch. Their habit is much like a tony cucumber vine, grow it on a trellis for easy picking.
Thornless raspberry (Rubus sp.) is the only way to grow! All the berries with none of the prickles, so kids can harvest their own snacks without any of the owies. No protective gear required!
Grape tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are fun to grow and snack on and can be grown in a rainbow of colors. They are less juicy than cherry tomatoes, which make them perfect for little pockets. One grape tomato plant with produce at least a handful of tomatoes, every day during harvest season.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuuus) are fun for everyone. A packet of seeds becomes towering flowers, almost overnight. Dry the heads to snack on the seeds, saving some to plant next year. Or leave them standing and watch the birds have a snack party!
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) won’t surprise anyone by making this list. Snap off one individual flower, put a finger in the top part of the bloom and your thumb in the bottom and make a puppet. It’s fun at any age!
Peas (Pisum sativum) are easy, tasty fun in spring. Just pop a seed into a pot or patch of earth and give it a little support (like a small branch) and marvel and the flowers, tendrils and tasty peas (and their pods). It all happens so quickly!
Columnar apple trees (Malus domesticus) will fit in even the smallest courtyard and, if given ample sun and air, will yield apples within a few years of planting. Their columnar shape is attractive as well as eat to care for, little to no pruning needed.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are a kid’s best friend! Make a chain, or a whistle, eat them, make a wish, there are plenty of them to play with, it’s almost as if that’s their purpose.