Kids love dirt so let them participate in preparing the soil if planting in an in-ground bed! Or give them the task of filling those containers with a planting mix.
Choose easy-to-grow plants and as many different ones as you can get into the allotted space(s). Carrots, radishes, lettuces and tomatoes are good easy-to-grow vegetables. If you have room for the vines, maybe a giant Jack O ‘Lantern or a mini-pumpkin can make the garden experience last into the fall.
For flowers, choose at least some for cut flowers, decorations or as gifts. Zinnias, marigolds, salvia, and snapdragons are a few recommendations. For something spectacular to a child, plant a few sunflowers, which can range from 2 to 10 feet tall. The seeds can be toasted and eaten for a healthy snack, or saved to feed squirrels or other animals.
Starting from seed is a good learning experience, and starting early indoors in a sunny spot will provide daily “excitement” as a child watches the growth. Small children will find large seeds such as beans and sunflowers easy to handle and plant. Bedding plants too, are an excellent choice for getting started and are good choices for selections such as geraniums, petunias, begonias and many vegetable plants.