Grow and Learn
by: Diane Flynn Keith
Little kids can learn a lot about plants and the life cycle by
growing things at home. A garden is a wonderful learning environment
for young children, but if you don't have the space or time for an
outdoor garden, you can experiment with a number of plants right on
Here are a few easy-to-grow ideas that will fascinate the kids. Don't forget to tell them that just as plants grow, they are growing too. :)
Carrot Tops -- Slice off the top 1" or so of a carrot and put it in a shallow dish with water almost up to the top of it. Put it in a place that will get natural light and keep the dish filled with water. Eventually, the carrot will sprout green leaves and roots!
Kidney Beans -- This is a standard "science project"
in classrooms, but it's lots of fun to do at home. Soak a handful of dried kidney
beans in water overnight.
Then take a see-through plastic glass or jar and put a damp paper towel in it. Tuck some of the pre-soaked kidney beans (evenly around the container) between the paper towel and the container so that you can see it. Put it on a windowsill where it will get plenty of natural light, sprinkle the paper towels with water each day so they stay damp, and the beans will soon sprout.
The children will be able to see the roots and shoots! Once the bean growth is about 2" or so -- transplant them into soil -- they'll continue growing.
Sweet Potatoes -- If you immerse the bottom end (pointed) into
a jar of water, roots and leaves will begin to grow. You made need to place 2-3
toothpicks into the top part of the potato and rest it on the jar rim.
The bottom of the potato shouldn't touch the bottom of the jar. That way, there will be plenty of room for the roots to grow. After 2-3 weeks you can transplant them into soil.
Avocado Pits -- Clean the avocado pit, place 2-3 toothpicks in it, and rest it on a jar rim of water. Roots and shoots will sprout within about 2 weeks -- and once they are 3-4" long you can transplant into soil.
Little children will learn that plants require food, light and care to grow.
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