Blue Suit Mom

3 Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Plants and Responsibility

Boy looking at plants through magnifierAs most moms know quite well, kids seem to have a natural affinity for flowers, trees and plants. They can smell them, pick them, climb on them and make believe they are in a different world. And, because kids like them so much, they can be a great way to teach them about science and the responsibility needed to take care of them. The following experiments are fun learning opportunities for kids:

How Water Moves Through a Stem

For this visual experiment, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas suggests having several white carnations, food coloring, water and clear cups for the vases. To do the experiment:

  • Fill each glass about halfway with water.
  • Squeeze in enough food dye to make the water turn a dark color.
  • Place one carnation in each glass, and see if your child has any predictions about what will happen.
  • After an hour, you should see the white carnation beginning to change color.
  • As the day goes on, the petals will take on more and more of the color, which clearly illustrates how the stem works to bring water and nutrients to other parts of the plant.

The Crowded Pot

Most seed packets from your local garden store advise you to sow several seeds at once, and then thin out the seedlings once they start to sprout. To teach your kids this step important step, Live Science recommends that you get two flower pots, some potting soil and some identical seeds—preferably ones that will grow quickly like zinnias or carrots.

In one pot, have your child thin out the seedlings. In the other pot, allow the seedlings to continue to grow. Keep both pots in the same condition, and make sure they get the same amount of sunlight and water. As the plants grow, observe how the crowded seedlings are doing compared to their more-roomy neighbors. Then, ask your child what he or she thinks about the experiment and why the flowers are flourishing or not.

Plant a Tree in Honor of a Loved One

One of the best ways to teach kids about plants is to allow them to plant a tree and take care of it. This will show them that plants and trees—just like people and animals—need a lot of care to grow and survive. A meaningful planting project is to plant a tree in honor or celebration of a loved one’s life.

The Seeds of Life Memory Tree kit from FTD, for example, allows your child to plant a tree in honor of a new baby brother or sister. The tree kit includes a biodegradable vase, soil, pre-conditioned oak tree seeds and growing directions. You can supervise your child as he or she plants the oak tree seeds, and watch as it grows from a seedling into a tall oak. If the seed is planted around the same time as a new sibling is born, it can be fun to compare and contrast how the tree and the baby grow.

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