Since we have no yard, much of the kids' gardening learning happens indoors. Right now the boys and I are learning a little plant science by observing pots of various beans and seeds growing in the window.
Despite the fact that I am an avid gardener, I'm embarrassed to say that it continues to be a challenge to get my kids as excited about plants as I am. I had a bit of success with our indoor vegetable garden but instead of forcing them do dig around in the dirt I decided to appeal to their interests.
This plant science activity combines two of my boys' favorite things: racing (everything's a race, don't you know) and scientific observation.
I intended for the boys to do the planting part, but as I could not get them motivated to do so, I went ahead and did it myself.
In separate pots I planted a variety of seeds and legumes from the kitchen pantry: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, popcorn, red lentils, split peas and chickpeas.
Note that my dirty windows are hard to clean from the 2nd floor fire escape, but showing you my filthy windows is all part of my continuing master plan to make you feel superior about your own housekeeping skills.
Legumes generally germinate and sprout quickly, which is very important for impatient little boys.
Each day we examine our plants as they race upwards. Note the price of the split peas. This is some luxury produce we are growing, people.
We chat about:
- which seeds sprouted first
- which are growing the fastest
- the difference in leaf and stem structure
- which pot had the most seeds germinate
- how much water the soil needs
It was interesting to note that the lentils were the first to sprout, but the pintos are the tallest. The red lentils are having a hard time of it, though and we have only just spied a small bit of green struggling to emerge.
I love how this ongoing plant science project of ours is so simple (very important to me!), yet encourages the boys engage their brains.
Do you grow indoor gardens with your kids? How do you encourage them to learn about plants?