Easy Garden Activity for Kids
I realize it may seem strange to be talking about gardening so early in the year. After all, we are still waking up to frosty mornings and drippy days. In the past, my husband and I have put in a summer garden, planting in May and harvesting through September. When fall rolls in, I pop garlic in the ground, clean up the beds, and call it a year.
However, I have recently realized that I am missing out on some prime growing time. The growing season in our temperate Northwest climate could easily stretch from early spring to early winter. In fact, you can do today’s activity without even setting foot outisde.
This even involves those of you who have zero interest in getting your hands dirty and/or no space to make it happen: teach your kids about how and where their food is grown. I am very passionate about this topic. Kids need to know that carrots do not grow in the grocery store and potatoes do not magically appear as french fries in their Happy Meals.
I promise I will spare you my “connection to the land” speech if you do this one simple activity with your kids. Deal?
RELATED: How to easily grow garlic
Activity: Watching Seeds Germinate
1. to begin to grow or develop.
2. to develop into a plant or individual, as a seed, spore, or bulb.
3. to put forth shoots; sprout; to come into existence; begin.
Items: tall glass or skinny vase (easy to find at at thrift store if you don’t have one to spare), newspapers, paper towel, seeds, water, and scissors.
Steps: (below) There are dozens of different ways to do this experiment, but I have used this method with fabulous results.
Use one paper towel square to line the inside of the glass. You want it snug against the glass all the way around.
Trim the top of the paper towel down. Crumple up a couple sheets of newspaper. Gently tuck them inside the glass. These will hold the paper towel up.
Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the glass, about 1-2 inches. The paper towels will absorb it and pull it to the top. Make sure the paper towel/seeds never dry out. Your kids can check the glass each day and add water as needed. It’s like owning a hamster without the mess!
Drop a variety of seeds in between the paper towel and the glass. Bean and pumpkin seeds work great because they have nice, sturdy stems, but feel free to experiment with whatever seeds you have. Kids love to compare and contrast the different seeds, and it’s fun to watch the whole process unfold.
Using a pencil or chopstick, spread the seeds apart, if needed. Try to keep seeds out of the water at the bottom of the glass because they will just rot (although I suppose that could be a science lesson in itself). Place the glass in a sunny spot and watch the seeds do their thing.
Depending on the age of your kid(s), the learning opportunities are endless: from seeds and sorting to germination and photosynthesis. Having trouble remembering those grade school botany lessons? Just Google it.
Here’s a sneak peek at the progress of our experiment!
Looking for more fun activities to do with kids?
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Willow W says
Thanks for this, Angela, especially the precious photos. I think it is super important to help kids understand where their food comes from. Next step – which involves at least a little bit of dirt – give them a little spot to grow things, even a flower in a pot. Amazing how proud and excited they get. It’s a beautiful thing.
Great litle project and looks like an easy one too! Fun for both child and adult.
did this activity with my daughter and we both loved it…thanks!
I love your model. What a cutie!!!
Love this idea! Thanks!
Amy McKillip says
WONDERFUL IDEA! We’re going to work on this NOW! THANK YOU!!
After it sprouts, you could plant it , couldnt you?
Definitely! As long as the roots aren’t all tangled up…
Does anyone know of a good website that tells you what to plant when?
I’ll be covering that in future posts!
Tammie Haley says
I have already put in my first two plantings of crops. The kids love to help with garden. (Yet they still won’t eat the veggies normally. I’ll keep trying. I do sneak them into a lot of their foods.) I am already starting to harvest my chives, spring onions. The carrots, radishes and peas are starting to grow. The kids love helping me plant. We make toilet paper rows of seeds. (So much easier to plant them premade). I had won a hydroponic system a few years ago. The kids like growing tomatoes in the middle of winter.
I think this is a really fun activity that you’ve shown. Anything to get the kids excited about science and growing their own food. It is a lot easier than some of my friends think.
Oh neat idea! I just bought some of the seeds FM had last week too! I bought all spices, I hope that works too. I could not agree more how kids are more likely to eat what they “reap” as well. My son is 2 and if he “helps” me make his eggs or toast or whatever, he’s always excited about eating it.
I took a garden class last year – and actually – April 15th on is the time to get in the ‘cool’ weather crops…
Sugar Snap Peas (or other varieties)
These could also be planted again in late July – early August to grow during September / October (before it gets really cold
LOVE IT!! I am going to do this tonight with my 1st grader. He’s going to love it. Last year was our first productive garden and I am hoping for many more! Thanks for the great tip on how to involve him more in the process and help give him ownership in the food he eats.
I’m on it. But I also want your “Connection to the Land” speech please.
I grew up working the land with my dad, but they had out of town guests last summer who had NO idea that you had to dig up potatoes. They were fascinated. I was a little sick to my stomach. :-/
Love this idea! I can’t wait to get some spring crops going. I’ve never done it before, but had decided already that this year is my year. And anything I can do to involve my children is a bonus! I can’t wait for upcoming posts!