There is something about watching things grow and change. This is why I became a teacher and started this series, Teach at Home Thursdays. When I was working in the classrooms, too often parents would they don’t know how to help their children at home without buying materials or curriculum and then they don’t know what way to “teach” their children as there are times they learn different methods at school.
This is so common and breaks my heart to hear a parent say this; after all we are a child’s first teacher. That’s right a parent is a child’s first teacher, but what exactly does that mean? Let’s think about it, first who teaches your child how to be comforted when they are crying? Who is the person or persons that they model their language development from? Are you seeing a pattern here? It all goes and comes back to parent involvement. With that being said, it is my philosophy and always has been to help my student’s parents do thing with them at home that help to develop skills and create opportunities to spend time together as a family. The learning will come from there; it is amazing when it does happen.
A simple and easy activity to do at home is growing things, whether is be a flower, a vegetable or even a fruit. Growing something together is almost symbolic of your relationship with your child; you are learning and growing together.
Start with whatever you want to grow, in my household; we planted flowers, garlic, started lettuce and cucumbers. Cost for the activity will all depend on what you want to plant, where you plant them and what you plan on doing it. The garlic and the lettuce were leftovers from our meals; the cucumbers were given to us in a kit and the flowers, we bought two different kind, wildflowers and gladiolus.
We used baby food, salsa and pickle jars and yogurt containers to start our plants. I picked up a bag of soil at Rite Aide for $5.00. Total cost of the project: $15.00 with the soil and the bulbs that we purchased. Not bad for a learning experience that will hopefully help us have some extra food!
|our planted flowers|
|some garlic (love me this stuff)|
|into the soil they go!|
|getting some sun: our lettuce, garlic and avacado tree (well hopefully)|
|day four: look at those roots!|
We started by planting the garlic cloves. They were pretty easy to plant, fill a container, make a hole and drop in the clove. Cover with dirt. Good to go. The Gladiolus were just about as simple, fill a jar with dirt, place bulb on top and done.
Once all of the seeds/bulbs were planted, we discussed what we were going to see, what we thought was going to happen, was it easy or hard to grow food, what they looked like on day one. We took pictures to document our plants.
To help to document the growth and help the children to enhance their reasoning skills, I created a workbook page that they could keep track of their plants. Here it is:
On the page is a line for what day it is of growth, how tall, the date and a space to draw a picture. The picture is the most important part for the children as this is where you will see what they are noticing. At first the children drew an empty container (well filled with soil) . A couple of days later, they couldn’t see the roots, so they drew an empty container. When we turned the baby food jar over, they discovered there had been roots growing the entire time. Woah, what a surprise for them. They knew plants had roots, but didn’t realize they had to grow down before they could grow up! What a neat experience. I loved seeing their faces light up like light bulbs. Continue on another week and we are starting to see green! They are thrilled and I couldn’t been happier with their fascination with how the plants are growing. Even Bean is so excited to see the plants. He always tries to grab them. It has been three weeks now and our books are growing and so are our plants.
|our flowers after three weeks! They look great|
|garlic one: the kids loved seeing it so much we planted three more containers|
|more flowers: closer look at them|
|look at our cucumber after two weeks!|
|and after three weeks! It is always so amazing to me at how fast they grow!|
|love all the flowers, cannot wait to see them when they bloom|
Pumpkin wanted to "unplant" one of the plants so we could explore it more closely. What a great idea, even I sat there in awe. This is our garlic after a week of growing.
Best part of the activity my children have a better understanding of where some of their food comes from. Next step: measuring our plants and introducing the concept of composting.