Sprout Some Fun with Spring Planting

An illustration of the life cycle of a plant, from putting the seeds into the ground to a fully sprouted tomato plant.

With the first day of spring just a few weeks ago, now is a great time to start thinking about spring gardening projects! Did you know gardening activities encompass many learning domains?

For young learners, an indoor garden is an easy way to teach them about different types of plants and food sources, how seeds transform, and how plants grow. They can watch their plantings grow day by day, then eventually transfer the plants outside. You can use nearly any type of container as a seed starter, but one creative idea is, to begin with, a trading card sleeve. Check out the activity below to try this with your children!

You will need:

  • 4-5 cups potting soil
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • 9-pocket plastic trading card sleeve
  • Pencil
  • Tomato, herb, or bean seeds
  • Hole punch
  • String or yarn
  • Turkey baster


  1. Wet the potting soil and spoon soil into each pocket of the trading card sleeve until each pocket is two-thirds full.
  2. In each pocket, create a hole in the soil with the pencil and drop a few seeds in the hole. Cover the seeds with soil. Repeat in all nine pockets.
  3. Punch a hole in the top center of the trading card sleeve and hang it in your window using string or yarn. You can also tape it to the window.
  4. This will allow the seeds to get great direct sunlight.
  5. The children can use a turkey baster to water the seeds daily (or as needed). Within a few weeks, the seeds should sprout and can be transferred to a larger pot or garden area outdoors, after the last chance of frost.

You can also use an egg carton as a seed starter. If you plant in an egg carton, set the carton on the windowsill or in direct sunlight.

Gardening can develop skills knowledge in many areas including:

  • Responsibility – caring for plants
  • Understanding – cause and effect
  • Creativity – finding new and exciting ways to grow food
  • Nutrition – learning where fresh food comes from.

Share a photo with us on social media when you do this activity! Be sure to tag Maryland EXCELS or use #MarylandEXCELS for a chance to win some Maryland EXCELS swag!