By Randi Masa
Happy Earth Day! While every day is a day to celebrate our Earth and learn about how we can better take care of our planet, Earth Day is an especially good opportunity to educate your children on how they can care for the world with earth friendly projects. Plant a seed this week (literally or metaphorically) and let us know how your family celebrated!
There are many ways to improve our environment. One of my fondest Earth Day memories is planting trees with my classmates (It was a team building activity to say the least!). I was in 3rd grade and we planted trees in a park that was across from my elementary school. I remember feeling so proud that we were making a difference... one that we could see and be reminded of every day! To this day, whenever I drive by that park I look to see how the trees that we planted years ago have grown and I smile.
Children grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically through their relationships within their community. It’s important to provide children with the opportunity to get out there and “do good”. Does your community have any Earth Day projects that your family can participate in?
If planting trees isn't in the books for you, I can guarantee your child will love this more low maintenance and educational activity...planting seeds and observing how they grow! Minimal supplies and a great way to observe, describe and predict. Follow the direction below and have fun!
Activity: Planting Bean Seeds
plastic cups (with hole poked in bottom for drainage)
plastic plates to rest the cups on
dry kidney or lima beans (NOTE: these must first be soaked overnight)
plastic sandwich bags
*Optional: Camera to document growth in pictures
Tell children that they will be planting seeds two different ways. They will plant some bean seeds in soil and some in a plastic bag without soil.
Planting in Soil
Let each child fill a plastic cup most of the way with potting soil and plant 2–3 beans. Cover the seeds gently with soil. Water the seeds by moistening the soil, using water in a spray bottle. Put plastic wrap over the cups to help the soil stay moist. (Remove the plastic once seedlings appear.) Place cups near sunlight, such as on a window sill.
Planting in Plastic Bags
Have children fold a paper towel to fit in a plastic sandwich bag. Then have them wet the paper towel and put it in the bag. Place 3–4 beans on the towel and then fold over the top of the bag. Have children label their bags and attach them with tape to a window.
Documenting Plant Growth
The children should check on their beans in their cups and bags each day. They can even take photos of their beans daily to note their progress!
Questions to Ask: Which beans do you think will grow faster? Why? When you look through all of your bean pictures, what changes do you see? How do different environments effect the seeds? If you were to create a third bean environment, what would you choose?
About the Author
Randi Masa is the Director of Arts Playschool, an arts enrichment program supported by the Center for Creative Arts Therapy that focuses on Social Emotional Learning through the Arts! Before joining Arts Playschool, she worked for many years in the education and social work fields. Working with children is Randi's passion and it shows if you are lucky enough to see her in action!