|Edie Wogaman reads to her grandsons|
Gardening is a wonderful way to help children appreciate and learn about the science in and of the world around them.
There are lots of easy to understand hands-on activities from planting seeds to pulling weeds that introduce children to the importance of what is going on with plants and nature.
Every child has access to nature even if it is only weeds in sidewalks and the birds in nearby trees. Houseplants, flowers, as well as fruits and vegetables at the grocery store can provide topics for conversation.
The library and the internet (especiallyYouTube.com) are loaded with entertaining suggestions for botany lessons with children. Schools, churches, and local public gardens offer gardening-with-children activities.
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Pressing leaves in books, coloring and drawing flowers, planting the seeds from grocery store food are all available as videos on YouTube. “Sid the Seed, How Do Plants Grow?” and “What is Germination?” are just a few of the dozens available.
Growing sprouts in the kitchen is another way to show children how seeds become shoots and roots. Just go to the school pages at http://sproutpeople.org/sprouts.html for ideas.
A new book that is of interest for older children, “Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers” was just published by United Plant Savers (www.floraforkids.org). The author Susan Leopold wrote and printed the book with her own money in order to raise money for the nonprofit www.unitedplantsavers.org. The illustrations in the book, by Nicky Staunton, are will delight children of all ages.
The peppermint flowers referred to in the title are Claytonia, commonly known as Spring Beauty. They pop up everywhere in the spring appearing to be white at first and the pink stripes showing only upon closer examination.
United Plant Savers
conducts native plant habitat restoration.
Annual Membership $35 includes Journal of Medicinal Plants
Links to preservation organizations, videos, educational resources
Take apart grocery store fruits and vegetables to use as botany lessons. Identify leaves, stems, roots and which parts can be eaten. You can point out and talk about where the plant grows (above or under the ground, which country, etc.) Look at the veins in the leaves the seeds inside, etc.
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