Are you as excited for spring as we are? Living in Florida we are blessed with a long growing season so we are always excited to get some seeds sprouted indoors even while there are still the occasional chilly days ahead. To kick off a garden unit study I pulled out an old favorite activity to introduce again.
When the kids were toddler and preschooler age I loved to let them open and explore inexpensive seed packets (4/$1 at Dollar Tree). It was such a simple introduction to gardening, parts of a flower, and grasping where flowers, fruits, and veggies begin. A great simple hands-on science activity that engaged them for a long period of time.
I haven’t done it in years and wondered if it was kind of a babyish activity for them but with spring right around the corner I wanted to give it a try and I am so glad I did, although my kids are almost 8 and almost 11 this activity was still a hit. I also added a few additional challenges to make it more age appropriate.
Set out an artist pallet with small wells or another divided container for exploration, I grabbed this divided serving platter from Dollar Tree. Pour your seeds out among the divided sections and add items for exploration like magnifying glasses, tweezers, a small knife for older children, and the seed packets themselves. Let your child(ren) spend a little time exploring and studying the seeds and see what observations they make.
Gardening For Kids
If you have younger children joining in you can have them sort by size or by color. Let them match the seed packet to the seeds in the tray.
After they got a good look at each seed, seeing how they varied so much in size, shape, and color we cut open a few and looked side. We talked about how some seeds that are hard to sprout can be helped along in their germinating process by cracking the seed coat gently with something like fingernail clippers.
We also investigated seeds still in the apple, let your kids dig them out with a pair of tweezers to get a real firsthand look at them.
I had the children investigate the seeds and compare as we did when they were younger but this time we dived even deeper into studying them, adding in some journaling, handwriting, spelling, reading, and more as well.
Gather all the books and gardening magazines you have on gardening and place them in a basket or scattered about the house. Use them in your morning time or as your science book during your garden study, this really helps give a little “meat” to your seed exploring time.
Make a list of spelling/vocabulary words associated with seeds and gardening that is age appropriate for your child. Younger children can use simple words like- seed, grow, and dirt while upper middle school children might learn heirloom, organic, and germination. These words can be used for spelling, vocabulary, or as journal starters.
My daughter is learning how to alphabetize so for practice I had her put the seed packets in alphabetical order, a practical hands-on application will sink and stick much better than a worksheet will for most children. Also alphabetizing books and magazines is great practice as well.
We also did the planting a seed and watching it grow we documented its progress. Have them draw a picture of what they see each day from seed to full-blown plant. Even older children can really get a lot out of watching the process firsthand, seeing the seed pod germinate and spread its tender little leaves out and roots down. Radishes, lettuce, broccoli, and sunflowers are quick-sprouting seeds if you are looking for more instant gratification for the kids.
Next, I had the kids log seeds in a garden journal that was just a basic composition book. They listed our seeds and then added seed to a little dab of school glue next to it to compare and remember what each seed looks like. This gives the kids an opportunity to practice handwriting and spelling. Go a little deeper and use garden topics to kick off journal entries as well
Seed Activities For Kids
Finally, we used our gardening books and magazines that we had on hand to find and learn more about the seed packets we had. Research is an important skill to learn and children can gather information from the back of the seed packet but get even more in-depth information from books, living books that act as textbooks contain a lot of information to beef up a gardening study. We used these books to plan our garden, deciding what we would plant, plot size and shape, as well as some crafty ideas.
Supply List For Gardening and Seed Activities
- Seed packets of various varieties and sizes
- Magnifying Glass
- A divided tray to hold everything
- Gardening books and/or magazines
- Composition book
You’ll love these other fun hands-on activities: