Spring is almost here! Yay! And, that means we need to get our seeds going or we won’t have a garden. Ok, that’s a bit extreme because we can go buy starter plants, or whatever they’re called. But, I want Sweet Pea to see how plants form and watch them grow. She loves science, so why not do some “life” science (sorry, that’s the 4th grade teacher in me! Once a teacher, always a teacher!)? And, Buddy Boy loves watching what we’re doing and taking it all in. We’ve always included him in that regard, but now that he’s getting older, he’s starting to want to be involved too, so I set up our supplies at their little table indoors so that both kids could help get our seeds started.
I put a plastic table cloth on the floor, one left over from Sweet Pea’s birthday party, but a bigger one would have been more helpful. I put their table on the table cloth (it’s there to catch all the dirt and be thrown away when we’re done), made sure I had my seeds, dirt, containers for starting the seeds, and scoops for scooping the dirt all next to me. Nothing’s worse than getting up in the middle of something with two little ones waiting for you!
Then, I started with telling the kids what we were going to do, reminded them that they need to follow the directions because they’re important and we can’t go out of order (so, a QUICK overview of what we were about to do).
And, for the dirt. I asked the littles to help me spread out the dirt in the cupcake tins, which they both enjoyed.
Then, time for the seeds. Since I want to capitalize on authentic counting opportunities (and not putting too many out!), we counted the seeds that were large enough to count as we put them in the dirt, which led to Sweet Pea wanting to see them up close, under her microscope. By this point, Buddy Boy had lost interest and found some cars to play with, but he kept coming back to check on us and see what we were doing. So, clearly, this was of interest to him, just not SUPER interesting, and that’s ok. He’s only 17 months, so it’s not realistic to expect him to sit for 20 minutes and get seeds started, which is why it’s always good to have a back up activity, or something for them to do when they’re “done,” while you continue with the other kid(s), or get things cleaned up.
While this may not seem like the most exciting thing to do, I involved the kids in every step of the way, so it was fun for them. We talked about what we were doing, how, and why, which expanded their vocabulary and knowledge of how things work. Our seeds are now sprouting, so the kids look at them daily and we talk about what’s changed and why. We make comparisons to the previous day and the seeds that are just starting out. We spritz them with a spray bottle so that the kids can help water them (good hand strengthening skills to use a spray bottle). This is a good chance to talk about the parts of a plant and what they’re used for, as well as make comparisons to what we need to survive and how our bodies work. Exciting? Not really for us adults, but for the kids, it is. And, that’s what matters. Hopefully this will also lead to them being more involved in the garden and more apt to eat what comes out of it (hello, new way to get in veggies!).