22. Engage children in the magic of planting

Children see the wonder in what adults often find ordinary. The experience of watching a seedling sprout from a seed is truly magical. To children, providing care for their own plants brings a sense of potential and responsibility.

Areas of Interest: Fun for Kids, Physical Labor, Teaching, Writing
Ingredients: Seeds or potted plants, water, sunlight, soil, journal
Note: There are a number of regional and national environmental education programs for families, teachers and students. Check out the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Kids Explore Club at www.arborday.org/explore/parents or Project Learning Tree at www.plt.org/.
Directions: Take children to the nursery and have them choose something to grow. Provide a category: shade tree, shrub, flower, herb or vegetable. You may want to grow something from seed. Consider sprouting the seeds in a clear plastic cup so the children can watch their progress. Once the seedlings are ready, have the children plant them in appropriate spots in the ground or in large planters.
Teach the children to water the plants. Talk about the plants’ growth with the children and share their excitement. Encourage them to write about or draw the plants in a project journal as they grow. Point out the diverse greenery in your local forest and help them compare the plants to their own plants.