Caring for plants and watching them grow leaves kids with a sense of pride and accomplishment. There are many ways to teach kids how to care for plants. Most often this is achieved by using a variety of fun-filled activities throughout the growing season, which is a great way for kids to learn about plant growth. As kids participate with these activities, encourage them to share in the care of plants through routine watering and other necessary maintenance.
Take some small paper cups and fill with soil. Have the kids put a few seeds in each cup and then thoroughly mist the soil with water. Cover the top with a piece of cling film and place the cups on a sunny windowsill. There’s no need for watering until the sprouts begin to appear as the plastic wrap acts similar to a greenhouse, creating condensation and moisture for the seeds. Once the seeds have begun to sprout, remove the plastic wrap and let the kids water them daily or as needed.
As the seedlings grow, play guessing games with the kids. Ask questions about them and let the kids predict the outcome. For instance, how high will the plants grow? What will they look like? Will the plants produce flowers and if so, what colour? Have the kids record their predictions and see who is closest to being right once the plants have fully matured. This is a great way to spark enthusiasm in the kids as they wait and watch the plants develop.
Growth Chart Journal
Encourage the kids to keep track of plant growth in the garden (or classroom) by creating a growth chart in a diary. Tell them to record the plants at various stages of development and have the kids make predictions. Ask questions about their plants and have them write down the answers. For example, what will the seed do once planted? How long do you think it will take the seeds to germinate?
Have them illustrate their growth chart diary. A good way to teach observation skills is by having the kids draw a picture of their plants as they sprout. Let them label the plant parts as they develop and have them add details to their picture as the plants grow. For instance, add new leaves as they appear. Lengthen the stem as it gets taller. Draw flower buds as they form and so on.
Ask kids to make plant comparisons while teaching them how weather affects plants. Grow different plants and ask questions like, which will grow faster and why? Use different types of soil to grow the plants and record the differences. For instance, plant A could be grown in sandy soil and compared to plant B, grown in rich, organic soil while plant C is grown in clay soil.
Explore how rain affects plants. Have the kids water one plant more often than another. What happened to those with less? Grow one of the plants using less light. What happens? Use a fan to create windy conditions, exposing one plant to it. How did the wind affect this plant?
Have the kids watch and record their plants during different times. Do plants look different at various times of the day? For instance, how did the plants appear in the morning? What about the afternoon? Encourage kids to describe the various plant characteristics of each plant such as the leaves, colour, texture, size, and so on.
Have the kids compose a short story from the perspective of the plant in some form. For instance, encourage them to become a seed. Tell about your life as a seed from the moment you leave the seed packet to the moment you are planted into a garden. What happens to you along the way? What are you feeling? What do you need in order to grow and flourish?
Not only is this a great tool for enhancing writing skills, but kids can also learn more about the life cycle of plants. These stories are also fun to read and kids love to share them with others.
There are endless ways to teach kids about caring for plants and watching them grow. Keep the learning experience fun and the kids are sure to remain interested. Don’t forget to listen to the kids. They can also come up with creative ideas.