Kids really dig gardening. So turn off the TV, roll up your sleeves and get growing!
What do kids see when you offer them an empty plot of earth and tell them it’s theirs to garden? At first, just a large patch of dirt to mess around in. But there’s much more to working in the earth than a chance to manipulate mud.
To turn gardening into a mini-science project, try these simple experiments.
Plant bean seeds in cups and devise various experiments with them, such as:
• Measure the amount of water you use. Water the bean in one cup twice a day, the bean in a second cup once a day, and the bean in a third cup once a week. What’s the best amount of water and the best watering schedule for optimum growth?
• Fertilize the soil in one cup and not in another. Which plant grows better?
• Add small drain holes to one cup and not to another. Which plant prospers more?
• Plant beans just below the surface, half an inch below, an inch below, and two inches below. Which works best?
• Point one bean up and one bean down. What difference does that make?
It can also be fun to experiment with unusual growing mediums:
• Moisten a small sponge and roll it in grass seed. Place it in a saucer of water on a windowsill. Watch what happens.
• Put some pebbles and water in a shallow pan. Add both a section of a potato that has an "eye" in it and the top of a carrot. (The eye will sprout, and the carrot top will develop a fern.)
• Use toothpicks to suspend a sweet potato in a tall glass so only the tip is in water. The potato will send out a leafy vine.
For more fun and learning for kids in the garden, go to Dirt, Worms, Bugs and Mud.