We’ve featured some really great micro-gardening tools here over the years, like the cool Click & Grow smart herb garden, which helps to create gardening projects for those of you with kids — but not a lot of space for traditional sowing and planting. However if you’re ready to take it outside, be sure to take a look at Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown.

This fun collection of DIY activities–or gardening “experiments,” as the author calls them–ranges from building rain barrels and gardening tool boxes to making a desert terrarium or growing a tropical porch container.

My kids were immediately drawn to the projects in this book; my daughter has big plans for the fairy garden, and my son wants to make a sprinkler. And we’re all fans of the mini pizza garden that helps us grow our own tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil and oregano. How great would it be to make homemade pizzas just by running out to the garden and picking our ingredients to lay over the dough?

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Related: 5 wonderful new books about spring for kids! YES, it’s finally here!


Gardening Lab for Kids book: How to make a color wheel

Gardening Lab for Kids book: How to make a fairy garden

The book is divided into six sections with a total of 52 activities, and I’d say about 20 are actual gardening projects, including starting seeds, building a compost bin, or planting a tree. The rest — think flower magnets, garden gift bags, rock bugs, wind chimes, and water fountains –draw inspiration from the garden area, but are really more crafty.

I will admit that some suggestions, like planting a garden in an old shoe and setting it outside, are a bit bizarre for me. And a few others, like making a planter that says Play ball!  by gluing a bat and ball to it, seem like a bit of a stretch. But overall, this is a helpful book of gardening projects for kids that my family can do together. I’m planning to let my own children flip through and pick two or three to do this summer, and they seem pretty excited about it too.

Order your copy of Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown from Amazon or your own local indie bookseller