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Planting an indoor classroom garden all year-round provides children with lots of science experiences.  You'll find activities and ideas for spring, summer, winter and fall in this theme.

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There are 4 black & white printable coloring and pattern pages of Plants associated with this theme. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

  1. Seed Growth and Flower
  2. Bean Plant
  3. Plant Growth
  4. Flower Cross-section

Planting An Indoor Fall and Winter Garden
A preschool education winter activity series

Preschool children can plant and experiment with seeds throughout the fall and winter as they gain knowledge about nature and science. during this series of activities.

You will need:
Several sweet potatoes, seeds from citrus fruits, a few onions, an avocado pit, and a pineapple, potting soil, clear plastic containers / glasses, toothpicks, sand, flower pots, felt tip marker and blank labels (office supply).

 Sweet Potatoes
Teachers help preschoolers place the narrow end of the sweet potatoes in glasses of water and place them in a closed or a dim location until they begin to sprout in about 10 - 12 days (clear heavy plastic glasses work well). Then move them to a sunny area of the classroom and keep replacing the water (room temperature) to prevent stagnation.  Observe the vines as they grow.

Citrus Seeds
While waiting for the sweet potatoes to sprout soak the citrus seeds overnight and ask pre-k children to help plant them in potting soil.  Before planting, teachers slightly "nick" the coating of a few seeds with a knife to help speed up the sprouting process.  Keep them well watered and in a sunny place.

Teacher Hint: After the overnight soak notice that some seeds are floating and some have sunk. Use only the floating seeds as these are more likely to sprout quickly. Remember to "nick" them slightly.

Preschool children can help put 3 toothpicks into each large onion and suspend them over  small plastic glasses of water so that only the bottom of each onion is in the water.  Place them in a sunny location and the class can observe the sprouting of leaves.  Don't forget to replace the water often.  When the roots are formed plant the onions in potting soil.  If you have a few avocado pits, they can be treated the same way.

Pineapple plants require patience.  First slice off the top 2" of a pineapple, leaving the green top attached.  Allow the top to dry for 9 or 10 days, then plant it in damp (not wet) sandy soil.  Keep the soil moist and sprouting will begin in about a month.  Next transplant the pineapple top to a larger pot of sandy potting soil.

Pre-k children will need to identify each plant as it 
grows.  So prepare labels (both pictures and words)  to place on the plastic glasses and flower pots.  Encourage youngsters to draw pictures of their growth observations.  Ask them to help with gardening chores and create experience growth charts for the plants.  Note with plants are fast or slow growers. Which plants have the largest or smallest leaves etc.
Teacher Hint: Young children can use ordinary kitchen basters as "watering cans".

Spring Vegetables
Youngsters explore the process of how a vegetable grows with this preschool and kindergarten plant activity by Kim D.

Materials: Vegetable seeds, soil, Styrofoam cups, popsicle sticks, and a marker.

Description: Start by sharing stories of vegetables and the process a seed goes 
through before it becomes a plant. Make a flannel board diagram of the process.
A seed, rain, sun, a seed with roots, the starting of a stem springing through the ground, and then the plant itself. Bring in as many real plants as possible to show the children. Then have them chose a seed to plant and start a window garden. After planting the seed in the Styrofoam cup have the children put a popsicle stick into the cup and mark the plants progress as it begins to grow.

Comments: If you have the yard space it is delightful to take it one step further 
and plant a garden outside.

plant growth   This Is The Way We Plant Our Seeds
During the Spring season Jill F. encourages youngsters to learn about plant growth with this song.

This Is The Way We Plant Our Seeds
(Tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we hoe the soil,
Hoe the soil, hoe the soil.
This is the way we hoe the soil,
Early in the morning. 

This is the way we plant our seeds, 
Plant our seeds, plant our seeds. 
This is the way we plant our seeds, 
Early in the morning.

This is the way the wind does blow, 
Wind does blow, wind does blow.
This is the way the wind does blow, 
Early in the morning.

This is the way the rain comes down, 
Rain comes down, rain comes down.
This is the way the rain comes down, 
Early in the morning. 

This is the way the sun shines bright,
Sun shines bright, sun shines bright.
This is the way the sun shines bright,
Early in the morning.

This is the way the seed grows up,
Seed grows up, seed grows up.
This is the way the seed grows up,
Early in the morning. 

This is the way we pick our beans,
Pick our beans, pick our beans.
This is the way we pick our beans,
Early in the morning.

Comments: Of course growing a bean seed is also a tried and true part of this theme. I also play Vivaldi's Spring during the Plant Theme.

Planting By The Moon
Encourage youngsters to observe and decide for themselves if moon planting (an old theory) works by experimenting with dry bean seeds, like kidney, lima, or navy beans during this science activity by Liz.

Materials: 10 bean seeds and a place to plant them, note paper and pencil.

Description: Plant five seeds when the moon is growing, and five seeds when the moon is shrinking.  For each group of seeds, write down the dates you planted, when they sprouted, and how fast they grew.  Water them equally well. Ask questions like, did the new moon seeds sprout in fewer days?  Does one group look healthier?  Do you think planting by the moon works?

Greenhouse Gardening 
Create early childhood greenhouses in your classroom with this planting activity by Mary R.  The children will learn how seeds grow and learn about time, evaporation and condensation.

Materials: Clear plastic cups, 2 per child,  potting soil, quick seeds like radishes, marigolds and beans, scotch tape, water and a plant journal.

Description: I wet the soil ahead of time so that it is ready for the kids to use. Each child takes 2 clear plastic cups, filling one 3/4 with wet soil. They then put the seeds, about 5 or 6 seeds, on top of the soil. Do not mix in. Then put the second cup upside down on top of the first. get it as snug as possible then let the kids tape them together. I wrote their names on the cups with markers and covered the names with the scotch tape (keeps the marker from fading). We then wrote what we did in the plant journal (I wrote they dictated). 
Everyday we checked the plants, wrote or drew our observations in the journal. With the cups covered, the children also learned a little about evaporation and condensation. The little greenhouses water themselves. Have fun!

Eggshell Garden
Youngsters explore how plants grow and how long it takes for a seed to grow into a plant during this early childhood education activity by Cristina M.

Materials: Cleaned out egg shell halves, soil and various types of flower seeds.

Description: Children will use eggshells because they are biodegradable and they are good fertilizer for the soil. This is a great Earth Day activity and a great science project that can be followed by a field trip to an organic farm. 

Children will take egg shells and put soil 1/2 full, place a pinch of seeds  and place soil on top, and water them. You can place them back into the egg carton if you would like and place that onto a tray in a sunny part of the room or outdoors.  You can talk about the different soils and that the eggshell is like a vitamin for the plant. Fun outdoor or indoor activity. 

Comments: Children will love the texture of the dirt and watch their lovely 
flowers grow. The eggshell can be planted directly into the ground. Enjoy!

gardening artGarden Mural
Students learn about vegetables and flowers with this hands on art activity by Yvonne S.

Materials: Gardening books, butcher block paper and glue.

Description: Cut pictures of flowers and vegetables out of catalogs. Glue flowers together and vegetables together to create a flower garden and a vegetable garden.  Discuss what gardening activities you have to do to maintain a garden, like watering, pulling weeds etc.

vegetable garden muralVegetable Mural
During this pre-k and kindergarten activity plan by Ava R. youngsters 
identify if a vegetable grows above the ground or below the ground.

Materials: Magazines with vegetable pictures and / or an assortment of empty vegetable seed packets, large sheet of brown bulletin board paper, scissors, and tape.

Description: Place a large sheet of brown bulletin board paper where you want your mural to be. After discussing how vegetables grow, have children go through magazines and cut out pictures of different vegetables. If using empty seed packets, have the children pick out the ones they want and have them cut them out. Have children decide where their vegetable should go on the brown paper. Then help them decide whether it grows above the ground or below the ground and assist them as needed when they tape their picture to the wall.

Sprouting Seedlings
Marlin G. offers this preschool lesson plan saying, "Introduce the activity by talking about spring time and the changes in the seasons. How everything is changing, leaves are starting to sprout and flowers are budding."

Materials: Seeds (bean, corn, etc.), ziploc bags, cotton balls, yellow food coloring, a dropper and a window.

Description: I used pinto beans that you can buy in the grocery store because they're easy and accessible. We cook them in house keeping and use for counting exercises too!  My students are 4 and 5 year olds.  OK,  after the children are used to the idea of beans and have associated them with food you are ready to begin your sprouting activity.

  •  First I have them open their baggie
  • Then count out the number of cotton balls that you plan for each child to use and have them insert them into their baggie.
  • Color your water with food coloring and talk about the clouds, sky, I use yellow food coloring to introduce the sun shine and its importance.
  • Droppers exercise the fine motor muscles and eye hand coordination wet the cotton balls with enough water to soak them.
  • Count out the number of seed or beans each child will need and drop them inside the baggie on top of cotton balls (I usually pick a number that we're having problems with or an age).
  • Close the baggie and hang with paper clip to a window shade or a line that has been previously hung across window at the children's eye level.
You are ready to begin your science project. Check daily for changes in 
Comments: Children love it because it is in a baggie and they can observe the 
changes easily.

Molly P. offers the following interpretation of sprouting beans in a baggie.

Description: Discuss springtime and new life.  Show the students various seeds and discuss what they are and what the end product will be. Use real examples if possible.  Tell students that to grow a tree or plant of some sort you need light, water and air.  Then tell them that they will be growing their own bean sprout. Tell the children that they will be wetting down a paper towel and then placing it in a ziploc bag.  After that they need to count 1 or 2 beans and place them in the bag.  Have them make a name card or use masking tape to keep track of the bags.  Track the changes of each bean sprout or discuss the changes that are taking place day by day.  In a few days, your bean sprouts should appear!

Plant Song     The Gardener Plants the Seeds
Here is a easy preschool circle time song for your gardening theme from Janice H.

  The Gardener Plants the Seeds
   (Tune: "Farmer in the Dell")

    The gardener plants the seeds. 
    The gardener plants the seeds.
    Heigh ho the derry oh,
    The gardener plants the seeds.
 Second Verse:  The rain falls on the ground.
 Third Verse:  The sun shines bright and warm.
 Fourth Verse:  The seeds begin to grow.
 Fifth Verse:  Flowers grow everywhere.

Mr. Potato Heads
Youngsters use creative skills while learning how plants grow during this early childhood activity by Angela W.

Materials: Russet potatoes, grass seeds, cotton, felt, paint and buttons .

Description: Take the top of your potato and dig out about 1/2 into the top of it.  Then place a wet cotton ball in the hole you dug.  Next, place the grass seeds into it.  I recommend that you poke toothpicks in each side of the potato and then place in a plastic glass so the toothpicks are holding the potato upright. After the grass has grown let children give Mr. Potato Head a haircut and decorate with buttons, glue, glitter, paint etc.

Flower Art
This art project by Crystal can be used to reinforce the parts of a plant.

Materials: "M & M" Candies, coffee grounds, glue sticks, green construction paper, muffin liners, water color paints and blue construction paper.

Description: Have the children rub a glue stick over the bottom of the blue piece of paper and sprinkle coffee grounds on top.  This is the dirt. "Plant" an M&M "seed" by gluing it in the coffee grounds. Have the children cut green strips of construction paper and green leaves for the stem and add them to the picture.  Have them paint their muffin liners with watercolors, and attach to the stems when they dry. 

Comments: Older children can label the parts of their flower!

Science Project: Seeds Throughout The Year
Make seeds an ongoing part of your science curriculum with this early childhood project by Mary C.

Materials: Seeds, beans, corn or any kind of dried seeds. 

Description: In the fall we take nature walks to look for wild seeds. We talk about how the wind blows the seeds to replant them. We talk about the different people who use seeds in their lives, like farmers, gardeners, nursery workers, foresters etc. We make seed collages and seed rhythm makers with empty film containers.  In cooking class we talk about the different foods that have seeds that we eat without cooking.  We use biscuits and make bread sticks out of them and roll them in sesame seeds and let the children eat them.

In the spring we plant seeds so the children can watch them grow and then we put a pretty ribbon on the flowers and the children give them to their mothers for Mother's Day.

a song for seedsSeed Song
Donna H. shares this song about seeds which is sung to the familiar tune of The Muffin Man.

 We need Seeds
(sung to the tune of "The Muffin Man"

Oh, do you know that seeds need soil,
Seeds need soil, seeds need soil?
Oh, do you know that seeds need soil,
To grow and grow and grow?

Continue with the following verses
 Oh, do you know that seeds need rain...
 Oh, do you know that seeds need sun...
 Oh, do you know that we need seeds...

Cool Cooking Idea:  Edible Plant
Donna H. offers this idea saying, "After a unit of study on plants the children will plant a flower in "dirt" and eat.

Materials: Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding, gummy worms, plastic flower, spoons and clear cups.

Description: First have the children crumble Oreo cookies into the bottom of clear cups. Next allow the children to put "mud" (chocolate pudding) in the cup. After a plastic flower has been planted the children can enjoy their treat.

 Little Flowers
Michelle shares this finger play for planting and Spring.

 The Sun comes out and shines so bright
 (join hands over head in circle)
 Then we have a shower
 (wiggle fingers coming down)
 The little Bud pushes with all its might
 (one hand in fist; other hand clasped over, move hands up slowly)
 And soon we have a flower
 (join thumbs and spread fingers for flower).

sensory ideaIndoor "Sensory" Garden & Growing Grass
While waiting for actual plants to grow, try this sensory garden or growing grass idea by Jeri W.

Materials: Sensory table, potting soil, gardening tools for children, plastic vegetables (actual size is better) and gardening gloves.

Description: Allow children to plant and harvest their gardens in your classroom sensory table.

Growing Grass
 Materials: Small piece of sod
 Sensory Table
 Water Spray bottles
 Children's Scissors

Description: Roll out the sod in your sensory table.  Be sure to give it a good watering every couple of days.  Allow children to spray water, or trim your  classroom lawn with their scissors.

plant craft activity Craft Activity: Plants
Risa A. suggests this activity in which children explore the parts of a plant while using their senses and fine motor skills.

 Materials: Xerox and enlarge picture of a flower.
 1 cupcake paper per child.
 flower scented oil
 markers / crayons / dabblers

Description: During circle time show or draw a diagram of a plant. (roots, stem, leaves, petals etc.) While there explain to the children what they will be doing for the project.  Allow them to use their own choice of colors and materials. 

In the cupcake paper squeeze glue and allow them to sprinkle in confetti.  Once dry squirt in a drop of oil for a scented flower.  Glue in the middle of decorated (xeroxed) flower. 

 Comments: The kids loved smelling their flowers!

Spring Planting: A Window Planter
Jennifer W. helps young children learn about plants by observing how seed germinate during this preschool activity.

Seeds, paper towels, plastic sandwich bags.

Soak paper towels in water.  Have children put towels in bags, then children put the seeds in. The teacher then tapes in the window.  Seed take 7-10 days to germinate.

Planting Bulletin Boards
Children will love observing the bulletin board change daily as seeds turn into seedlings that appear to grow out of the wall!

Experiment with these ideas and vary the planting medium, seeds and procedure to find out (with your children) what works and what doesn't.  Keep a record (journal) of your results.

  • Help each child plant a bean or corn seed by placing it between the side of a zip-locking plastic bag and a wet paper towel.  This is almost always successful, and it seems like magic as your whole wall sprouts and grows inside the clear bag.
  • Partially fill the bags with potting soil mixture and sprinkle seeds that grow easily. (Marigolds or grass seeds work well.)  The tops of the bags are opened after the seeds sprout, and the young seedling can eventually be set into regular pots.
  • Make miniature rain forests in sealed plastic bags by pinching off small starts of easily rooted plants (ivy, bridal wreath, or other tiny leaved plants).  Push them down into the soil; water; then seal; and staple to the board.  The plants not only root, but grow to the top of the bags, and put out tiny white air roots in the moist environment.
Flower Petal Fun!
Barbara A. encourages brainstorming about plants or flowers with this early childhood activity.
Yellow poster board,  construction paper (various colors).

Cut a large circle from the poster board, this will be the center of your flower.  Using the construction paper, cut petals for the flower. On each petal write a question about a flower (ie: if you were a flower, what color would you be?)

During circle assemble your flower on the carpet.  Give each child an opportunity  to choose a petal and answer the question.  Be sure questions are open ended, (ie: if you were a flower, what would you smell like?).  This is a great transition activity!!!

Instead of one large flower you could make a variety of small flowers with a popsicle stick stem.  Place them in a flower pot and each child could pick a flower. 

Comments: this activity can be used for any age group depending on the questions you place on the petals or flower

What's in a Pod?
Preschool children use observation skills and experiment with growing beans and peas during this science activity.

You will need:
A bowl, plastic knives, clear plastic jars, paper towels or napkins, Peas in the pod and Butter Beans in the pod.

With a small group of children open the pod of a bean and a pea.  Observe the contents and then cut a seed in half lengthwise.  Talk with children about what they see. What do seeds need in order to grow into plants?  Next, dampen a paper towel and wrap it around the inside of a clear plastic jar.  Place whole butter bean seeds between the sides of the jar and the paper towel.  Keeping the paper towel moist at all times, place the jar in a window sill and observe the seeds grow.

Storytime reading: How A Seed Grows  by H. Jordan

Seed Secrets
This early childhood education spring or summer lesson plan encourages preschoolers to observe and describe a variety of seeds.

You will need:
A variety of packaged flower, plant and vegetable seeds. Dry lima & kidney beans, soaked lima beans, kidney beans, bean soup mixes, a magnifying glass and tweezers.

In small groups begin by showing young children the seed packages, allowing children to feel and shake the packages.  Then as them to predict what size, shape and color they think the seeds will be.  Let the young children take turns looking at, touching, and smelling the seeds.  The magnifying glass and tweezers will help.

Next, teachers can ask children to describe the seeds, "What colors are the seeds?  Are the seeds all the same size?  Are they the same shape?  How do they feel?  How can we find out what is inside the seed?" Write down or note the children's responses. 

Hint: Dry lima & kidney beans become soft and open easily when they are soaked in water overnight.  Once opened they reveal a baby plant.  Provide both dry and soaked lima & kidney beans for young scientists to investigate and describe.

Now teachers and preschoolers create a "Seed Secret" chart by gluing seeds on oaktag along with children's descriptions of the seeds.  Include seeds that are open and don't forget to include some grass seeds if your plans include the following Garden Creations.
Try reading this delightful book to young children.The Tiny Seed  by Eric Carle

Garden Creations
A lesson plan for small groups during spring or summer. Preschool children plant and care for their own small gardens while using creative skills and the science skills of observation and prediction.

For this pre-k lesson plan you will need:
Saved plastic vegetable trays, at least one inch deep (parents can help save the trays), plastic forks, potting soil, grass seed, a squirt bottle for misting, and experience chart paper and markers.

Before you begin take the class on a trip to a garden center or visit a local garden.  Try reading a book about gardens during story time.

       Planting a Rainbow  by Lois Ehlert
       In the Tall, Tall Grass  by Denise Fleming
       A little House of Your Own  by Beatrice S. 

Teachers talk with young children about gardens. "What is a garden? What do people need to do to help them grow?"  Ask children to imagine everything they would include if they had their own special garden. Record their responses on experience chart paper.

Begin spring planting by offering each child a vegetable tray and helping him/her use a pencil to poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage.  Show children how to fill their trays with about a half inch of potting soil, sprinkle the soil with grass seed and use plastic forks to gently rake the seeds into the soil.  Help children mist the soil with plenty of water, and place the trays near a sunny window.  Each day ask a child to water the gardens using the mister.  Notice and talk about the gardens as they grow.

Possible learning extensions: Collect seashells, eggshells, nut shells, small twigs, pebbles etc. 

When the grass reaches about a half inch show children the stones, twigs and shells.  Encourage them to use these items to decorate and individualize their gardens. Allow children to use other classroom materials if they like.  As the children work on their gardens, invite them to talk about the items they're using.  Children might like to dictate stories about their gardens.

Kitchen Plants
You will need:  Sweet potatoes
                       Carrots/carrot tops
                       Clear jars (plastic)
                       Shallow dish (a pie pan works well)

Take a clear jar about 3/4 full of water and place it in the water so that only the bottom 1/3 of the potato is covered by the water.  Then put toothpicks into the sides of the potato.  The toothpicks across the mouth of the jar will keep the potato from slipping further into the water.

Preschool children can put the water into the jars and put the toothpicks into the potatoes.

Next, cut the tops of carrots that have already had the greens removed.  Place the carrot tops in a shallow dish of water, flat side down.

Preschool children can remove the greens and place the carrots in the dish.  Older children can cut the carrots.

Talk with pre-k children about the different ways that plants grow.  Some from seeds and some from cuttings (hint: Marigolds are quick seed starters).
Over the next few weeks observe with the preschool children as the plants produce roots and leaves.



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