Hello everyone! Our Green Team Growers program is on hiatus this summer, but our wonderful instructors have put together a few activities you and your children can do at home. Please enjoy, and share some photos of your home growing experiments!
LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS, OR FLOWERS?
When you eat a vegetable, which part or parts of the plant do you eat? Using the produce in your refrigerator, begin a discussion with your child about which parts of each vegetable we eat and which parts we discard.For example, for carrots and turnips we eat the root. We discard the stems and leaves. In the case of celery, we eat the stems (stalks) and sometimes we use the leaves in a soup. Spinach and lettuce—the leaves. And for broccoli, we eat the stems and flowers (florets).After this discussion, continue the activity on your trips to the supermarket!
SEEDS ARE EVERYWHERE!
Discuss seeds and how plants produce seeds to propagate themselves. Look for seeds in the environment: acorns near an oak tree, seeds at the base of a marigold flower, for example. Dissect an apple, orange, peach, etc. and take a look at the seeds within.Purchase sunflower seeds at the supermarket and perhaps a bunch of sunflowers. Make the connection between the sunflower seeds that we eat and the seeds at the center of the sunflower. What other seeds do we eat? Pumpkin, flax, sesame, and poppy are some examples.
THE ANTS GO MARCHING
Ants are fun to study even if we’re not fond of them on picnics! Encourage your child to observe the comings and goings of ants they find on the sidewalk or in the back yard. They may even find some ants carrying crumbs to their colonies.Have fun singing “The Ants Go Marching One by One” and then make a special treat—“Ants on a Log.” You’ll need celery (the log), either peanut butter or cream cheese, and raisins (the ants). Spread the peanut butter or cream cheese on the celery stalk and sprinkle with raisins. Enjoy!
Here is an activity that will help your child understand how seeds germinate or sprout. Take three or four dry beans such as lima beans and place them in a baggie with a moist paper towel. Keep the paper towel moist but not soggy. Place in a light area but not in direct sun. Check the baggie every day. Soon you’ll see a sprout emerge from each bean and eventually some roots. You can use other seeds and beans for this experiment. Which seeds sprout the fastest?
MORE SPROUTING FUN
Here’s a fun activity that will encourage your child to use his or her observational skills. Take the top half of a carrot (unpeeled) and insert two or three toothpicks into the side of the carrot about an inch from the top of the carrot. Immerse ¾ of the carrot in a glass of water. In a few days, the top of the carrot should sprout some leaves and roots should begin to grow in the submerged part of the carrot. You can also try this activity with a half-potato (unpeeled). Change the water when it gets funky. Caution: the leaves that sprout are inedible!!
EGG CARTON CATERPILLAR
Take an egg carton, preferably one made of cardboard. Cut it in half lengthwise. Have your child use paint or markers to decorate the “caterpillar.” Add googly eyes (you can substitute raisins) and pipe cleaners or toothpicks for antennae. Act out the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and discuss how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.