a paper garden full of peppers, eggplant, green onions, carrots and radishes


How to Make a Paper Play Garden for Kids

Jul 14, 2022

A garden, whether it's on a balcony, in a kitchen or in your backyard, is a great summer project if you have the room for it. But keeping fruits and vegetables alive can often be a mostly grown-up job. With just a little bit of kid oversight.

Whether you have a green thumb or not, I've created a great activity for kids that's a real joy to make and play with.

It's a farm-fresh garden made of paper, and it's a great way to create a little magic around vegetables in your house.

Ready to make it? Let's get started!

What You'll Need

  • cereal or cracker box
  • coloured paper
  • popsicle sticks
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ruler
  • markers

How It's Made

Pop open your box and lay it flat. Cut a piece of brown paper to cover the front panel of the box. This will become the soil of your garden bed.

Glue your “soil” down. Adult job #1 on this project: Cut a hole in the opposite panel of the box. The hole is so you can recover the seeds you plant and play with them again. Set the box aside to let your soil dry.

To make the veggies, we cut simple shapes from coloured paper. Our garden has radishes, carrots, peppers, green onions and eggplant, but you can make any fruits and veggies you like — some summer strawberries, corn on the cob or leafy lettuces!

You can use markers to outline and add details to your fruits and veg if you like, or simply glue your shapes down onto popsicle sticks as-is. I love how the outline work makes them pop!

Once you’ve got everything glued down, give your produce a quick measure to find its width.

Adult job #2 on this project: Use the measurements you’ve taken to cut slots in the soil for all of your fruits and veggies to grow.

Reassemble the box and decorate some more if you’d like. We added some green grass and a white-picket fence around our garden to keep the bunnies out. Make some other accessories for your garden like seed packets (one step of this activity could be dropping the seeds in the holes and "watering" them, only for them to "magically grow" overnight — remembering to put the veg in is adult job #3!), a watering can or a basket for your bountiful harvest!

Have fun planting, growing and harvesting as many times as you like!

Article Author Mara Shaughnessy
Mara Shaughnessy

Mara is a children’s book author and illustrator who’s big into scissors and glue, making cake from the box, wrestling with her dogs and doodling with felt tip pens. You can check out her latest work at The Little Monster or craft along with her at Craft University.

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