Gardening Activity for Kids

by Cheryl Gross, Advanced Master Gardener, Vice President MGANM, President Plant It Wild

While I have three grown children, activities for children do not come easily to me.  Also, I am not the ‘crafty’ type.  Yet in late summer, there I was having a blast with a seed germination activity at our neighborhood block party.

Wanting to pitch-in and help the host, I contacted Lillian Mahaney, a Master Gardener colleague and Jr Master Gardener teacher, for help.  In no time at all Lil connected me to a ‘living necklace’ activity.  Beginning two weeks ahead of the event, I began a seed each day (one week is ample).  It was great fun to check on my seed each day.  By the day of the event, there were three plants in small pots, three plants in small Dixie cups, and four or five still in small plastic bags where the children and adults could see the germination process.

About a third of the children in attendance participated along with two moms.  One mom asked several questions and took the idea to use in her classroom!  It was well worth my effort to pull it all together.  I appreciate that is was a quieter, almost one-on-one activity amid all of the running, throwing and water balloons.  It was craft-like with an educational component AND it was suitable for all ages.  The success of the activity was entirely based on the benefits of connecting with other Master Gardeners in our community!

Living Necklace

Supplies:

Any seed for garden planting (Some use large bean seeds.  I used sugar snap peas because the shoots have a nice edible taste.)

Cotton pads, such as those used for makeup removal

Plastic zip seal bags, roughly 2” x 3”

Narrow ribbon

Water

Hole punch

Directions:

Wet two cotton pads with water and wring out.

Place a pea or other seed in the center on one pad and cover with the other.

Slide into the plastic bag.

Punch a hole in the top of the bag, beneath the zipper.  Cut a length of ribbon to tie the bag around the neck of the child.

Discuss the germination process… embryo, root, stem and such.

Note: Use caution with the ribbon around the neck (choking hazard).  I had parents available to inform.  If children did not want the necklace, they did not get a ribbon.  The benefit of the necklace is faster germination due to contact with body heat.  The peas in my test did just fine germinating on a ledge in my house.