Sunday, June 9, 2013
Top 10 Ways to Learn About Growing Plants
I am just thrilled to be participating in the School's Out blog series along with over 25 other Kid Blogger Network participants. We all want to keep our kids actively learning this summer and we've put together a great list of ideas to keep your kids learning all kinds of topics all through the summer.
Summer weather provides an abundance of opportunities to learn about plants. There's nothing better for hands on learning about plants than actually getting out in the dirt and planting them! If you'd like to have some fun learning about plants this summer, here's my top 10 favourite ways:
1. Plant a garden - whether it's a flower, vegetable or herb garden, children will be fascinated to watch their little seeds sprout and grow. My buddies and I have a preference for flowers, but the Educator's Spin on It has me convinced I need to grow KALE!
There's so much to be learned from gardening. See some of the ways that science learning creeps right in at Kindergarten & Preschool For Parents and Teachers.
2. Start some seedlings - I confess that sometimes I cheat just a little and buy my seedlings. And I have been seen sneaking a seedling into a pot where my buddies have carefully planted seeds that don't want to sprout. You can start your own seedlings, too. Here's an inexpensive way to start a lot of plants at Juggling With Kids and another at Housing a Forest. I was amazed to read how this group of kids raised enough money to buy a trampoline by growing and selling their seedlings! You can read their story here: Starting Seeds.
3. Plant cuttings - many plants can be started from cuttings. You can take a snip off of the plant and stick it in water for a few days until roots show. Then plant them in dirt. My favourite house plants for cuttings are spider plants and wandering jew. They are so easy to start that you don't even need rooting hormone. I've also started roses and geraniums this way. True Aim has some great tips on starting plants from cuttings.
4. Re-grow veggies - many of our every day veggies can be regrown from salvaged parts and it's surprisingly easy. We have grown celery and carrots and I've heard you can regrow green onions, too. You can compare our celery experience with how Housing a Forest grew theirs.
5. Create a garden sensory bin - I have found that with my buddies, the excitement of planting does not simply turn into patiently waiting for things to grow. Once they get the taste of digging in the dirt, there's no keeping them out! The best way to keep the newly planted garden safe and the kids happy is to give them some dirt that they can dig in. I adore the elaborate garden sensory bin set up at Fantastic Fun and Learning.
6. Create a flower shop or garden store - Setting up a dramatic play area for kids to play out what they have learned is helpful in processing all the things they've learned. Imagination Tree has an amazing flower shop that I want to re-create for my buddies this summer.
7. Grow an exotic plant - You can really perk their interest with some exotic plants. I love the terrarium made by Juggling with Kids. I've been growing a Venus Fly Trap with my buddies.
8. Play with WEEDS! - They are the expendables of the plant world. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love the dandelions, clover and buttercups in my yard!
9. Learn some plant names - Try to identify plants in your neighbourhood. Go to a plant nursery and find some new plants, too. This is an opportunity for adults and children to expand their knowledge. Check out 3 Dinosaurs visit to their local shop.
10. Try some plant crafts! - Many vegetables and flowers lend themselves to crafting. Celery, broccoli, and flowers are often used for stamping. Using the plants in this way allows the children to explore the plants in new ways and make observations about textures that they may not have originally noticed. Similarly, using their knowledge of flowers, they can make a flower like the children at This Reading Mama or these at the Imagination Tree. I think that crafting that follows your theme or child's current interest just helps cement that knowledge in.
I hop you enjoyed my favourite ways of teaching my buddies about plants. If your favourite isn't here, let me know so I can include it, too. The more ways I can incorporate into learning, the better I like it, and the more fun we can have!
For many fabulous ideas once School's Out, please visit these wonderful KBN bloggers:
Sunday ~ This Reading Mama | The Educators' Spin on It | Kitchen Counter Chronicle | Rainbows within Reach | Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers | Monday ~ Train Up a Child Learn as We Go | Housing a Forest | Royal Baloo | Living Montessori Now | Tuesday ~ Toddler Approved | Play Trains! | 3 Dinosaurs | Wednesday ~ The Outlaw Mom | Teach Beside Me | Hands On as We Grow | Thursday ~ JDaniel 4's Mom | All Done Monkey | Fantastic Fun & Learning | KC Edventures | Playing with Words 365 | Friday ~ Teach Mama | The Usual Mayhem | Nature and Play | True Aim Education | Saturday ~ Creative World of Varya | Craftoart | My Buddies and I