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Seed Science

It’s spring! It may not be time to plant an outside garden in your area yet, but it’s a perfect time to do some seed experiments. This is ideal for preschoolers, because the best learning happens when they are having fun!

Gardening is a great science activity for kids, and you don’t need a green thumb to participate.  You don’t even need to plant a garden, however once you have done a few experiments, you may be eager to do more!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Try putting a few grocery store dried beans between two damp paper towels and check daily – you’ll be able to watch the beans sprout! Some people put the paper towel in a sandwich bag to hold in moisture better. Others put damp cotton balls in a jar so they can watch the seed change between the damp cotton and the glass. If you can’t decide which will work best, why not try both ways and increase the excitement?
  2. Try a few different sized seeds, like a big lima bean and a small black bean. It will take a few days for the beans to sprout, so while you are waiting, soak some beans in a pot of water overnight and watch what happens to them – and then cook and eat them!
  3. Plant some seeds in a paper cup filled with dirt, and you can talk about what might be happening that you can’t see. This can be very exciting!
  4. Sprout an avocado pit, potato, or the white root part of a green onion in jars of water.  You’ll find tips online. If they want to try something else, encourage their creative thinking, even if you know it won’t work. That’s how they learn!

Search online for “seed experiments for kids”. And don’t forget to check out some plant or gardening books at the library!

Children are so curious and they love seeing the changes in a seed. Once you’ve had your fun with seeds inside, consider growing something outside. Ask your child what he/she would like to grow. You might be surprised! He might want to grow both vegetables and flowers (sunflowers are fun because they grow so tall!). Purchase some garden seeds for this project.

Will everything grow? Probably not, so your kids will learn that gardening isn’t an exact science and that there are many variables – and that when you have a “failure” you try again!

To record the seed experiments, offer paper and drawing materials in case your child is interested in drawing what they are seeing. Or, take photos with their help!  And then go for “walks” in your own yard simply to see what is there when they look closely. Even weeds become fascinating when you focus on them. This beginning science experiment may last all summer!

If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you!  Email your questions and ideas to KarenTaylor@UniversalPreschool.com or post directly to unpreschool@yahoogroups.com and we can chat there!

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*Karen Taylor provides regular homeschooling information and mentoring on Facebook and she is the director of Cedar Life Academy, a Private School Satellite Program (PSP) for homeschoolers in California.

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