Gardening with Kids

gardening

Spring is the perfect time to teach kids about how plants grow. Even if the ground outside is still frozen, there are fun things you can grow inside. Try one or more of these fun gardening experiments for fun and learning!

Beans in CD cases:

Recycle a clear CD jewel case to grow beans and teach kids about the parts of the plant. With the empty case hinge side up, add some potting soil, filling about one-third of the case. “Plant” a bean concave side down (like the letter “n”) on top of the soil and let the kids water with a dropper by adding drops of water into the hole at the top of the CD case. Stand the “planter” upright in a sunny window and kids will be able to clearly see the roots reaching down into the soil as the plant grows out of the bean.

Flower bulbs:

Paper whites and daffodils are favorite early spring plants, and growing flowers from bulbs is a great science experiment. Use any see-through container as a vessel, from plastic cup to a clear glass or vase. Add rocks or marbles to the bottom of your container and place the bulb on top, root side down. Fill with just enough water to cover the bottom of the bulb. Observe the bulb as it grows roots and eventually a flower! Bonus lesson: Cut open an extra bulb so that kids can see the inside of this plant powerhouse.

Colored Carnations or Celery:

Fill a vase or glass with water and tint the water with food color. Place a white carnation or celery stalk inside and watch the plant become colorful as it “drinks” the tinted water. This is a great, short experiment to show how plants take in water.

Root Vegetables:

Ever wonder how root veggies form under the ground? You can see for yourself– and show the kids– by planting root vegetables in a clear container. Clear Mason jars are perfect for this, but a clear vase or other container works just as well. First, fill the bottom of your container with pebbles, marbles or gravel to allow for drainage. Then, add potting soil. Plant any root vegetable seeds, several per jar. Try carrots, onions, radishes or turnips. Keep the soil moist and enjoy watching the root form. Best of all, when the vegetable is done growing, you can eat it!

Grow a Carrot Top:

This is a fun way to see a plant grow, but it will not produce an edible carrot. You can use an end of a carrot from your veggie scraps, or buy a whole carrot with the green fronds still attached for this experiment. Cut off the carrot near the plant end, leaving an inch or two of root. (Remember, the root is the edible part of the carrot, so you’ll want to cut your carrot near the wide end, leaving the part where the green leaves attach for growing.) Place several cotton balls on a plate or shallow dish and add water until the cotton is moist. Place the carrot top on the wet cotton, orange side down. Help the kids check and add water as needed. The green plant will sprout within a few days.

Sunflowers:

Sunflower seeds sprout and grow quickly, making this the perfect flower for impatient children. These seeds can be started just about anywhere, even in a Styrofoam coffee cup. Kids love seeing the plant push its way out of the soil, wearing the seed husk like a hat! Transplant your plant to a flowerpot after sprouting to observe the flower as it forms.

Grass basket:

Grass is another seed that grows quickly. Make a living basket by lining a basket in plastic and filling with potting soil. Scatter grass seed on top and lightly mist with water daily. The kids will love using a spray bottle! This makes a perfect spring table centerpiece filled with green, living grass!

Try any of these inexpensive garden experiments for a fun project. Growing plants is a great way to sneak some learning—and a little sunshine—into your daily routine.

By Tiffany Doerr Guerzon, freelance writer and mother of three.

Posted in Featured Articles


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  1. Toddler/Preschool Story Time

    June 22 @ 10:30 am - 11:15 pm
    June 22, 2017  |  10:30 am - 11:15 pm
    St. George Library
    Join us for songs, rhymes, picturebook stories, simple craft activity, and snack packed in 45 minutes! For two and three year-olds and their care givers. No pre-registration is needed, but the space is limited to 20. First-come, first-serve.
  2. The Pipes Are Calling

    June 22 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
    June 22, 2017  |  7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
    St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
    Join Richmond County Pipe & Drums for free lessons on Bagpipes & Drums, no Experience Necessary! Every Thursday Night, except holidays. We do occasionally take breaks so please email ahead to richmondcountypipesdrums@gmail.com for more info!
  3. Toddler Storytime: Toddler Time

    June 23 @ 10:15 am
    June 23, 2017  |  10:15 am - 10:15 am
    Tottenville Library
    Stories, songs, crafts and fun for children ages 18 months to 3 years old along with a parent or caregiver. Meet other toddlers in the neighborhood! No pre-registration required!
  4. Playtime!

    June 23 @ 10:30 am
    June 23, 2017  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    Huguenot Library
  5. Baby Rhyme Time

    June 23 @ 10:30 am
    June 23, 2017  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    New Dorp Library
    Stories, songs, crafts and fun for children ages 18 months to 3 years old along with a parent or caregiver. Meet other toddlers in the neighborhood! No pre-registration required!
  6. Preschool Storytime

    June 23 @ 11:00 am
    June 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library
    Stories, crafts, and play time. Join us for our weekly Preschool Story Time for fun, fun, fun!
  7. Toddler Story Time & Activity Hour

    June 23 @ 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    Port Richmond Library
  8. Book Worms

    June 23 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Walker Park
    Book Worms is a program for children to share and develop their love for reading. Children will be able to develop and advance their literacy skills through a variety of fun and educational literacy games, activities, and library trips. Registration
  9. Science Time

    June 23 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program on problem solving, inquiry and creative thinking. Activities include meetings animals from our Bugs exhibit, playing with solar cars, solving puzzle and games or building structures. Time is subject to change each day
  10. Kidz Cook

    June 23 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    3 & 4 PM