Growing Plants in Preschool
As we head toward spring, I long for my garden and green things all around! Not only do I love gardening, but it is also a great learning experience for kids.
When we share the joy of caring for a living, growing thing with children, the benefits are immeasurable. Studies have found that including plants in the classroom can improve children’s memory retention by helping to filter out background noise and reduce carbon dioxide. Being in the presence of plants has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Caring for plants gives children a sense of ownership and responsibility. Not to mention they help teach science and math concepts!
It is easy to begin a little indoor garden with your preschoolers. Here is a simple plant activity for teaching the basics of plant growth and some standard measurement skills.
Grow a Bean
Here is what you will need to grow bean plants in your classroom:
- Paper cups or small pots
- Potting soil
- Green Bean seeds
- “How Tall is Your Bean?” printable
- Wooden dowels or pencils
Before planting your bean seeds, you may want to set the stage by reading a book about plants to your little ones. I would suggest the following as great introductions to this project: One Bean by Anne Rockwell, and From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.
Help students fill their cups or pots almost to the top with potting soil. Poke a hole in the soil, you can use knuckles to help measure the depth. A bean seed needs to go down about as far as a preschooler’s 2nd knuckle. Drop the bean in the soil. Pat the soil down and give it a little water.
Place your pots on a sunny windowsill, or in an area where they will get some natural light. Check the cups daily. This is a great activity to add to circle time. The first few days will take some patience, but once that little green sprout starts to pop up (8-10 days), things really get exciting!
Measure Your Sprouts
Print the “How Tall is Your Bean?” printable out on cardstock or print on regular paper then paste to cardstock. Tape a dowel or pencil to the back of this plant ruler and stick it into the soil near the sprout. Use this to note the height of your bean each day.
This is a great opportunity to introduce some graphing. Write down the plant measurement every 2-3 days. Use this data to draw a line graph. Although your students are young and may not be ready to create a data graph of their own, they will easily notice the upward trend of growth on the class graph!
Learning About Plants
Encourage your students to observe and notice things about their sprouts. What color do they see? What happens to the first leaves on the sprout? What shape are the leaves? Etc.
Another great question to answer is: What do plants need to grow? Sunlight, soil and water. Watering the sprouts can become a classroom job. Be sure to keep the soil moist, but not wet. If you water the seedlings every day they most likely will become too wet. If you see any puddling, you’ve watered too much!
How Tall Is Your Bean Printable-
Sarah Benton Feitlinger, M.Ed. is a former Preschool-6th science teacher, mom, blogger and science writer, curriculum consultant and developer. She is passionate about educating children, and loves anything and everything science! Check out her blog, Share it! Science for fun science, STEM and STEAM activities, lessons, science news, book reviews and other resources for kids, teachers, homeschoolers and parents.