Gardening with Kids: Science Experiments
Gardening can be a fun and easy way to keep children entertained while also teaching them a number of things pertaining to life, science, and sustainable living. Starting them young and beginning to foster a love for plants and gardening is a great way to ensure that our knowledge gets passed down to the upcoming generations. Especially in a world that is seemingly losing many old-time practices such as gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, and other once-common life skills, encouraging a love and appreciation for plants early on can only serve to benefit our precious young ones. That being said, there are tons of fun garden science experiments and projects that will provide a great opportunity for a fun learning experience that will hopefully make a lasting impression.
Plant Seeds to Grow in Your Windowsill
Perhaps one of the most common garden science lessons simply involves growing different plants from seed on your windowsill. You can go to your local garden center and have some fun picking out an assortment of seed packets. We also have a wide selection of seed starting supplies to help make your experiment more successful. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about the germination process and how plants are able to transform from a tiny little seed into a plant that produces edible food!
Grow Flowers from Bulbs
Growing bulbs is a fun and easy way to get to see the different parts of a flower grow. Not to mention you get a beautiful and colorful display to adorn your dinner table or entryway once the experiment is complete! Paperwhites and daffodils, both from the narcissus family, are easy to grow indoors. Usually, bulbs like daffodils and other spring-blooming bulbs are planted outdoors in the fall and come up naturally in the spring once the snow has melted away. However, it is very common to see paperwhites growing indoors in fun and decorative containers throughout the holiday season. They can be forced to grow and bloom out of season, and when grown in a clear container such as a plastic cup, glass bowl, or flower vase, you get to see and experience their growth from day to day. Simply pick out your container, fill the bottom of it with your choice of rocks or marbles, set one (or several) paperwhite or daffodil bulbs on top of the rocks root side down, and then add water just up to the base of the bulbs. In just a couple of days, you will begin to see root growth! This is a great opportunity to explain to kids all of the different parts of a flower and their purpose and function as the narcissus bulbs begin to grow and flowers emerge. Keep it interesting for the kids by allowing them to pick out the rocks or marbles, or take them to your local garden center and let them pick out a variety of fun different varieties and colors of bulbs! If you would like more detailed information on how to grow paperwhite bulbs, check out this blog!
Dye Carnations or Daisies with Food Coloring
This garden science experiment is perhaps one of the easiest ones out there. All you need to do is pick up a bouquet of white flowers and some food coloring. Usually, carnations or daisies work best for this experiment. Have some fun and let your kids pick out a couple of different colors of food dye, or get funky and mix up some of your own colors at home! Then simply trim the bottoms of the flowers, add water and the food coloring to a vase, and then place your flowers in the vase and leave them on the counter to start their transformation! Do this with several vases and add different colors to each one to see how the flowers absorb different colors. This is a great way for kids to see how the flowers absorb water, and the food coloring often makes it easier to see certain veins throughout the leaves of the flowers. Plus, who doesn’t like some fun and brightly colored daisies?
Watch Root Vegetables Grow
With root vegetables that grow underground, we do not often get to see the magic happen. We get to observe the greens of the vegetables growing above ground, but you miss half the fun not being able to watch the veggies themselves grow! One fun way to teach your kids about root vegetables is to pick out a couple of varieties and plant them in a clear container. Make sure you have a deep enough container, adequate lighting, and a mister. We have plenty of seed starting supplies available in-store and online if you need some things to help you get going. Carrots and radishes are fun to watch grow, and with a little love and patience, you and your kids will soon get to see the bright red and orange vegetables growing bigger and deeper as they push their way through the soil.
Grow Veggies from Food Scraps
This is also a fun and easy way to inspire curiosity and wonder in your children. This may be the perfect garden science lesson, as it requires nothing more than a bit of water and some of your cooking scraps. Instead of throwing away the bottoms of your celery or scallions after trimming them, save them and place them in a bowl of water! This can be done with a number of other vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, beets, potatoes, and ginger. Simply place the scraps in a bowl or cup, add water, and watch them grow new plants! Not only will your kids have fun with this, but it can also help restock your fridge without having to go to the grocery store!
Experiment with Growing Random Seeds from Your Kitchen Scraps
Similar to above, think twice about what you are throwing away! Instead of tossing your avocado seed in the garbage, prop it up in a glass of water using toothpicks. Save your mango seeds and wrap them in a damp paper towel inside a zip lock bag. Place them in a warm spot on a windowsill until it sprouts, then transfer to a glass of water similar to your avocado seed. Save a few seeds from that pepper you chopped up for dinner and place them in some soil. Mist daily and watch tiny little pepper plants begin to grow! The same can be done for a number of different fruits and vegetables right in your very own kitchen, so think outside the box and have some fun experimenting with what you can grow!
Need More Suggestions?
These are just a few of the many garden science experiments that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. You can try these things no matter the time of year, too! If you would like any other specific ideas, advice, or instruction, feel free to let us know! We are always happy to help and want to do everything we can to help encourage our communities to learn about plants and all the wonders of gardening!