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A Lesson Plan For Teaching Children to Grow Food From Seed

This seed lesson plan covers who, what, when, where, and how for growing food at home in a small garden or in pots.

As a culture, we must pass along to our children those skills which will give them self-supported sustainability. The most basic of skills any society must acquire is the ability to provide food.

a seed sprout
A seed sprouting out of the ground

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We celebrate here in America once per year, at Thanksgiving, that ability to provide for ourselves. The knowledge of how to grow the correct crops for the region was taught to the Pilgrims by Native American Indians.

Parents and grandparents with knowledge, ability, and skills should teach their children and grandchildren the ability to provide for themselves as well.

Scroll down for the free printable lesson plan and worksheets.

vegetable gardens outside above ground, in ground and in containers

How to Grow Food lesson plan

My favorite method of teaching is “Teach me, Show me, Watch me” First talk about it, then do a demonstration and finally step back and watch your student demonstrate.

Objective: Students should develop a basic working knowledge of how to properly plant seeds for growing food. We are talking about vegetable gardening at home.

This knowledge will include:

  • seed selection
  • containers for seed starting
  • how to plant the seeds
  • plant nourishment

Lesson 1: Who can grow food and What food do you want to grow

Anyone who really wants to can grow their own food with some basic knowledge and a few tools.

Tools

  • Dirt or potting soil
  • Spade or shovel and a rake if planting in the ground
  • Watering can or hose
  • Gloves (optional)

Reinforce the fact that you need very few tools to grow your own food.

You will begin by planning What To Plant

Begin by discussing what types of food the child likes and will eat. We are talking about vegetable gardening.

If the children respond with answers such as macaroni and cheese then break it down for them by telling them exactly which crops must be grown in order to create macaroni and cheese.

Unless you are a farmer, you are not too likely to plant wheat in your backyard garden so you can make your own noodles. You could also tell the children that the cheese begins with a dairy cow.

After providing insight into why you won’t be growing macaroni and cheese in your backyard garden, get the children to name vegetables they will eat. 

Vegetables for a home garden

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Peppers, Hot or sweet
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini

2. Field Trip Shopping for Seeds and Soil

Most children love a field trip! You may purchase seeds at the local Dollar Store, Home Improvement Store, or your local hardware.

When teaching children, you will want them to learn how seeds are sold. For this reason, take them to your local hardware or feed & seed store which allows you to purchase seeds by the ounce or in prepackaging.

We are teaching growing food from seed, however, now is a good time to take them to see the live plants which have been grown in greenhouses also. To avoid confusion, stick with talking about only the plants you are about to grow. It would be fun to show them what their plant will look like once it has grown.

Soil

Go ahead and purchase the potting soil you intend to use while shopping for the seeds. I personally prefer Miracle Grow potting soil (this is NOT a sponsored post).

You can discuss the nutrients required in the soil by simply showing them the ingredient list printed on the bag and talking about it. It is very important to take the time to teach the children that the soil type is essential to plant growth and healthy plants.

If you just happen to have fantastic soil in your yard suitable for seed starting, by all means, use that!

3. Seed Starting Containers

You will have previously determined what type of containers you will be planting your seeds into with the children. This is a great opportunity to talk about Repurposing.

In the days and weeks leading up to this lesson on seed planting for food growing, you should have been saving containers and ‘talking up’ this lesson with the children.

seed sprouts in a milk jug

Learn How To Repurpose Milk Jugs & 2 Liter Bottles for Winter Seed Sowing here.

How to make faux peat pots for starting seeds indoors. Start seeds indoors in the winter using these frugal DIY Faux Peat Pots. Toilet paper rolls and newspaper can be used to make faux peat pots. #diypeatpot #upcycletoiletpaperroll

Also, Learn To make Faux Peat Pots here from newspaper or toilet paper rollers.

Get the children to name other containers which can be repurposed for seed starting. There are no wrong answers if the container will hold a small amount of dirt without deteriorating.

When teaching my grandchildren to plant seeds we repurposed an aluminum foil box to hold the Faux Peat Pots. It fits perfectly in a window sill for sunlight!

Repurposed aluminum foil box by intelligent domestications.com

4. Plant the Seeds

Follow the instructions on the seed packaging for planting. This is a great opportunity to show the children how to use a ruler in an ordinary situation such as seed planting.  Stress the importance of not planting too shallow or too deep.

Use a ruler for correct planting depth by intelligentdomestications.com

5. Seed Nourishment

There are 3 Key factors to plant nourishment.

  1. Soil. The seeds are nourished by the type of soil they have been planted in.
  2. Water. They are also nourished by the water which will be essential to growth. Be sure to demonstrate watering with a gentle flow in the beginning so as not to dislodge the seed from the dirt. A water bottle is recommend until the seed has germinated.
  3. Sunlight. Sunlight is essential for plant growth. Some plants will require more sunlight than others for continued production during the growing season. You may talk about placing your seed container next to a window preferably facing east for many hours of daily sunlight.
tomato plant
Tomato plant

6. Watch them grow!

It will be especially fun for your student when they see that tiny little sprout as it first pops out of the ground!

Growth Journal

You may like to have your children create a Growth Journal so that they can get a better grasp on the time frame it takes for a seed to become a plant. Have them notate any growth activity every day. They may also enjoy taking photos of the growth process.

Lesson Learned

  • What kind of vegetables do I want to grow?
  • How are seeds sold and where do I purchase them?
  • What type of soil do I need to plant my seeds in?
  • Repurpose containers for seed starting.
  • Plant the seeds.
  • Nurture the seeds
  • Watch them grow

Reinforce the lesson: Free Printables

Print the Parts of a Plant, below with and without the answers. With answers for teaching and without answers for the test.

Parts of a Plant

While you are waiting on the seeds to sprout, teach the parts of the plant.

Print the above parts of a plant graphic with and without the answers.

Parts of a plant WITH Answers

Parts of a plant WITHOUT Answers

Worksheet Free Printable

Worksheet activity free printable, Unscramble the garden words.

Unscramble the garden words printable pdf

Unscramble the garden words printable

More Kids Activities

More Home Garden Ideas

Updated 1/16/24

Thank you for sharing!

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15 Comments

  1. Great post! I need to start my garden, but it’s been so cold, I can’t get myself worked up for it. Also the bunnies have eaten our beans the last two years which is discouraging. I love how you use your garden for Biblical truth. Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! I’ve pinned this to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest board!

  2. You are so thorough in all that you do, Shirley! In fact, I bought some seeds two days ago to teach my toddler how to plant. I guess I am doing it backwards, because I did step 2 before step 1. This is a great tutorial!

  3. Hi Shirley. I love this post. It reminds me of planting seeds with my girls when they were young. You are right, this is an important skill that should be passed on. Most children think food comes from the grocery store. Teaching them to grow food opens up a whole new world to them.

  4. This is such a great lesson. It is so important to teach kids this basic life skill. I feel the same way about sewing, canning and many other things. I am pinng this so other can see it and maybe get inspired.

  5. What a fun learning activity to do with your children or (in our case) grandchildren! I’m going to pin this because it’s so important to pass these lessons on to the next generation! Great post!

    1. Alli, we did it with our grandchildren. It was such a nice activity too. They enjoyed it and learned something too. I hope they always remember that it was their Grandma and Papa who took up that time with them.

We enjoying hearing from you!