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Jump-start spring early with your children indoors by growing seeds

For children anticipating the barefoot season, the spring may seem an endless march of rainy days and almost winter-like weeks.

If your children are ready to jump-start spring inside, and are searching for something that sparks their imaginations, starting beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables from seed is a great beginning. The Miracle-Gro Kids Gardening Kits are an easy educational way for your children to tend and nurture plants, watch the seeds germinate, spread roots and grow toward the sun.

This is the perfect opportunity for your children to get their hands dirty. Simply mixing the Miracle-Gro Gro-Mix supplied, water and a seed, covering the pots with the greenhouse lid, and remembering to keep the plants watered will start your children down the gardening path. They will be counting down the days until they can transplant their sprouts into the backyard or a pot on the stoop, porch, balcony or patio.

With spring just around the corner, try some other fun indoor activities with your family:

* What is growing in my greenhouse? While seedlings are busy growing into big, strong plants, take your children on a tour of a local market, flower shop or library to research what they are growing at home. For example, if you plant peppers, head over to the fresh produce department and purchase several different pepper varieties. Have your children taste, feel, and smell each kind to familiarize themselves with the vegetables and learn about the different varieties.

* Have a fun art day. Work with your children to diagram where they will transplant their flowers and vegetables into the backyard on paper with crayons, stickers and other art supplies. If they are a little bit older, ask them to measure the size of your flower bed or vegetable plot, and help them convert the size into a smaller design. Add the vegetables and flowers you would like to grow as well. Find books at the library that discuss the benefits and consequences of planting different types of plants next to one another. Having these diagrams will make it easy for your children to find the perfect place to put their sprouts once the time arrives for transplanting.

* Experiment in the kitchen. Children love to play and experiment with food, so invite them to investigate recipes that will incorporate some of the vegetables and flowers they may be growing. For example, pansies and nasturtiums are tasty and work well as edible decorations on desserts, salads or in fruity drinks. If your children like lasagna, find a recipe that includes those peppers they are growing. You can help them develop a recipe memory book based on their greenhouse gardens, complete with photos of them planting the seeds, journals of the care they gave the plants and the final recipes using the ingredients they grew with their own two hands.

* Rainy day exploration. Go to Miraclegrokidsgardening.com and explore the many projects and activities the gardening experts at Scotts have designed with your kids in mind. Try making one of the great kids’ recipes or print out some of the fun learning activities for a fun way to explore gardening even in the rain.

Getting your hands dirty with your children inside is the best way to start spring just a little bit early this year. Your family will love watching the development of the vegetables and flowers they started inside.

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