HSV Garden Challenge! I love gardening and love sharing the joys of gardening with my children! When the kids were younger, the extent of their garden involvement was eating the delicious fresh produce, but over the last couple of years they have gotten old enough to share in the joys and wonder of sowing seeds, watching them sprout, some tending and lots of harvesting. :) Last year the kids planted Zinnia seeds and monitored their growth during our garden challenge. It was a joy for me to see the kids check on the health and progress of their flowers all the way into the fall. :)
This year they will be starting their own vegetables (beans). Our 'garden lessons' started last week as we studied V = vegetable (we are using the My Father's World K curriculum). We spent a lot of time talking about what kinds of vegetables can be grown in a garden and examining how a seed becomes a plant. Using the Gardening Preschool Pack from Home School Creations, a children's encyclopedia, and The Magic School Bus: Plant Seeds, we re-enforced that plants need soil, water, air and sun to grow strong, tall and healthy. To further re-enforce this we set up an experiment that I tailored after an idea I'd seen on Pinterest for observing root development.
#1 - Control: has sun, water, air and soil(paper towels)
#2 - missing the sun (inside a paper bag that we closed with a paper clip)
#3 - missing water
#4 - missing soil
(Truly eliminating air from our experiment is not possible in our setting so it is not included.)
In one weeks time, we have watched the seeds that had access to water swell and either sprout (#1, #2) or spoil (#4). It has become obvious to the kids that without water seed #3 will never sprout, but while it is obvious to me that seed #4 is rotten and will never grow, the kids are still watching and waiting hopefully. I expect sometime in the next week I will have to put an end to #3 before we are all asphyxiated by the smell of it!
Our plan is to continue to observe these seeds until they have outgrown their jars and then transplant them into another container or the garden where we can continue to observe them and hopefully harvest from them. To support our studies we are reading several books including, The Magic School Bus: Plant Seeds, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Zinnia's Flower Garden, Jack's Garden, Growing Vegetable Soup, The Carrot Seed and more. I also hope to include the kids in planning and planting our backyard garden in the next month.
On the fun and more creative side, early last week we took a field trip to the grocery store and looked at all of the creative vegetables that are found in the produce section. We purchased several and had a veggie party for snack. Later in the week we used several veggies as stamps to create a veggie and flower garden like the one Peter Rabbit raided in "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".
Whether you home school or not, I challenge you to make a plan and be intentional about including your children in your gardening endeavors this year. I'd love to hear how you plan to include your kids in your summer garden plans this year. :)
Happy Gardening! :)