The weather where we live is just now getting warm enough for us to plant outside, but we've done several fun indoor projects that have us itching to get the outdoor garden going.
•We began our unit with a trip to Home Depot to pick out lots of seeds. Each child chose a few. We came home with packets of seeds to grow green beans, pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrots, spinach, and several others that I can't remember. We started these in a tray filled with moistened peat pellets. (These are always fun to watch swell up and expand when you add water to them.)
Most of our seeds sprouted fairly quickly (green beans and pumpkins), others took several days, and a few didn't sprout at all (broccoli and spinach). This weekend we'll be transplanting these to our container vegetable garden out on the back patio. (Each child has a very large rectangular container which will be their very own vegetable garden.)
We read The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons and Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Lenski to go along with starting our veggie seedlings.
•For our next indoor project we read How a Seed Grows by Jordan and Krupinksi (Let's Read and Find out Science Stage 1), which gives great introductory info. on seeds and describes the sprouting of a bean in a ziploc bag. (I am always amazed at how even my 3-yr. old enjoys these Let's Read and Find Out Science books. The pictures are great and help to hold her interest.)
•While re-organizing our homeschool closet, I came across a Root-Vue Farm Kit that I'd completely forgotten about. This is a really neat science kit that allows you to plant several seeds and then observe (through a plastic window) their roots and sprouts developing over the next few weeks. We planted carrots, radishes, and gourds. The radishes sprouted within a couple of days, the carrots took maybe 5 days, and the gourds were a bust.
•This next project has probably been our favorite...making grassheads! My favorite set of directions that I found for these cute little guys came from Family Fun's site. You'll see there that you can also decorate the heads with faces and clothing, which is on our to-do list. (One thing we did differently from the directions was to add a bit of spaghnum moss to the potting soil in the pantyhose. I did this because all of the other grasshead directions I found suggested using spaghnum moss or sawdust instead of potting soil.)
The thing I love most about these gardening projects is that everyone has excitedly checked on the progress of their seeds and plants each day. We've had a couple of disappointments when certain things didn't sprout or thrive, but those disappointments have provided opportunities for problem-solving and perserverance.
I hope the weather will be nice in your area this weekend so that you can enjoy some time outdoors with your family. (And if you and your children happen to plant something together, I would enjoy hearing about it!)