There’s something especially magical about planting a seed and seeing that first green shoot pop up out the soil. No wonder Jack couldn’t resist the promise of those beans! Planting seeds at home with your kids not only introduces important science concepts about germination and photosynthesis: The activity also gives your children an opportunity to practice important life skills, including responsibility and consistency. Even better, taking care of plants is something that kids of all can age can do! Let’s get started with this advice from kidsgardening.org:
What you’ll need:
- Small containers about 2- to 3-inches deep (egg cartons, yogurt cups, plastic pots, etc)
- Lightweight soil-less potting mix
- Seeds (sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, radishes, lettuces, and dill all grow quickly)
- Spray bottle
- Craft sticks
- Plastic wrap
What to do:
- Make sure your containers are clean and dry. Poke a hole in the bottom for drainage (this is an adult job, obviously!).
- Moisten the potting mix. If you squeeze a clump and water comes out, add more mix. It should be damp but not soaked. Be sure to avoid using outdoor garden soil to start your seeds. The soil-less mix is sterilized (so there’s less chance of germs hurting the baby plants) and it provides good drainage.
- Fill up your containers, leaving about half an inch or so at the top. Gently tap the container to settle the mix; don’t compress it.
- Read the seed packet to determine how deep to plant them. For a small pot, kids can plant five seeds: one at the top, bottom, left, right and middle.
- Mist the top with a spray bottle (this will keep the seeds moist without drowning them). Write the name of the seed on the craft stick, place it in the soil, then lightly cover the top of the pot with plastic. This will help keep them from drying out and keep them warm.
- Place them in a warm, sunny spot, then let the magic happen! Encourage your child to check and mist the soil regularly so it doesn’t dry out.
- Remove the plastic once the seedlings emerge, and rotate the pot every couple of days so they don’t bend toward the light. To water now, place them in a tray and water them from the bottom. This will help the plant grow stronger roots.
- Once the seedlings have two or three leaves and have grown a few inches tall, transplant them to bigger containers.