Seeds – Seeds produce plants. Plant bean seeds, flower seeds, jelly beans, pennies, and a small toy. Which ones do you think will grow? Why?
Have a “seed snack” with popcorn, sunflower seeds, and other seeds to eat .
Go on a “seed hunt” around your house and see how many seeds you can find.
Make a sticky bracelet by taping masking tape around the wrist with the sticky side out. Go on a nature walk and attach seeds to the tape to make a bracelet.
Match up seeds with the fruit they come from.
Sprinkle birdseed on a wet sponge and watch it sprout. Birdseed will also sprout on a pinecone if you mist it daily with water.
Soak dry lima bean seeds overnight, then let the child open them and find the baby plant.
Put a paper towel in a sandwich bag, then staple across the middle of the bag. Insert several bean seeds, water, and pin to a bulletin board. The child can watch their seeds grow daily and record the growth on a graph. (You can also plant ordinary popcorn kernels between a glass and paper towel to observe the growth of a seed.)
Give the child a styrofoam egg carton and let the child fill each section with a small amount of potting soil. Plant different seeds in each section and label your mini-nursery.
Discuss how plants can also grow from cuttings. Cut off the top of a carrot and place it in a saucer with a small amount of water. Root house plants in a clear glass to show how roots are formed. Take a sweet potato and suspend it in a clear glass to show how roots are formed. Take a sweet potato and suspend it in a clear glass with toothpicks. (Make sure the pointed end is down.)
Plant Growth – Ask the child what he/ she thinks plants need to grow. Try an experiment with bean seeds to test the child’s ideas. Plant bean seeds in four cups: (1) with soil, water, sun; (2) with water and sun but no soil; (3) with water and soil but no sun; (4) with soil and sun but no water. Label the cups and observe their growth over several weeks, then summarize your results.
Discuss different parts of a plant and their functions. Make a puzzle of the various parts by cutting apart real turnip or carrot.
Ask the child to draw a plant and tell you the different parts. (You will need to write the words for younger children, but older children may enjoy doing their own labelling.)
Put pictures of plant growth together in sequential order.
Place a stalk of celery or a white flower (such as a carnation) in a glass of water. Add food colouring, and within a day the child will se how the water travelled up through the stem.
Discuss the different parts of plants that we eat:
Leaves – cabbage, lettuce
Stems – celery, asparagus
Roots- carrots, sweet potatoes
Flowers – broccoli, cauliflower
Seeds – nuts, peas, beans, corn
Fruits – apples, tomatoes, oranges
Plant a garden on your playground with vegetables that the child can harvest and eat.
Make a terrarium from two clear plastic cups. In the bottom of one layer small rocks, sand, and soil. Put in several small plants, water, and tape the second cup on top.
Brainstorm all the things we get from plants.
Trees – Trees are alike people because you can look at them and tell what family they belong to from their bark, leaves, shape, size, etc.
Take a paper plate and divide it into fourths. Draw a picture of a tree in each of the four seasons and label it.
Brainstorm all the things we get from trees.
Take a slice of a tree and show the child how to count the rings to tell how old the tree was.
Collect leaves and make leaf rubbings, a collage, etc.
Have the child sort a bag of leaves by shape, then count the number of leaves in each set.
Buy a bag of assorted nuts in the shell and ask the child to categorize them.
Press leaves by putting them between a napkin or paper towel. Place this between newspapers and stack several books on top for two or three days.
Plant Identification – Go to the playground and teach the child the names of trees, flowers, shrubs, grass, even weeds. Children love to impress others by saying, “That’s an oak tree,” or “That’s a holly bush.”
Identify plants that grow in different habitats, such as cactus in the desert, a palm tree at the beach, a water lily on the pond, etc.