Winter Milk Jug Sowing

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Community service
A Simple Safe Service project from home: Plant seeds in this homemade planter made of recycled materials so they are ready for outdoor planting when the weather and soil warm up. A time of rest makes a stronger plant and garden to share with our community when we come together again.


Simple Safe Service activities are designed to spark generous action and conversations promoting the good of all. 

The cyclical nature of gardening has a lot to teach us about our world and ourselves. From the excitement of new spring growth, to the resting beauty of winter, each season nature offers us a gift if we slow down enough to see it. Construct winter planters from recycled containers that will provide your seeds with the right conditions to grow. This winter gardening service activity provides an opportunity to reflect on the values of perseverance, nurturing, patience, and hope. 

Growing seeds and growing ourselves promotes. . .

  • Service - the act of helping others
  • Patience - the ability to wait for something
  • Nurturing - to care for and encourage the growth of someone or something
  • Perseverance - not giving up; sticking with something that is challenging


  1. Gather all the materials you will need for the project and review the simple directions for your planter (see handout below).
  2. Choose seeds that are naturally hardy in your area. Seeds that will work in cold, wintery weather include milkweed, asters, cone flowers, and kale. 
  3. Discuss how planting seeds can be an act of hope that requires patience, perseverance and nurturing. 
  4. Once grown, share your seedlings with a neighbor, school, or park in your community.


In order to thrive in the spring and summer, these plants need the rest and cold of winter. 

  1. Write about a way you have seen people grow stronger after reflecting on something difficult.
  2. Describe what hope is and relate it to spring and new growth coming after winter. 

Literacy Connection:  

Read and discuss the book Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson using this Learning to Give literature guide. This true story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathaai is an inspiring tale of environmental activism and the power each one of us has to help protect our world. 

Read and discuss If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson using this Learning to Give literature guide. This simple story inspires us to plant seeds of kindness and hope. 

Find more Simple Safe Service activities.


Learning to Give ... 

  1. educates youth about philanthropy, the civil society sector, and the importance of giving their time, talent and treasure for the common good (knowledge),
  2. equips youth by encouraging philanthropic behavior and experience (skills), and,
  3. empowers youth to take voluntary citizen action for the common good in their classrooms, lives and communities (behavior).