Talk About Plants as They Grow
Plants are important to all of us. We need them for oxygen to breathe, for food, and to make shelter. The spring time is when we typically see people planting gardens and other flowers that blossom. Kids will adore getting their hands a little dirty in order to learn and talk about plants and the way that they grow.
Not all children are familiar with the process of growing plants from seeds. A great way to begin a mini speech and language unit on this is to introduce the topic with books before you move forward with interactive activities (which can also help with other goals for occupational or physical therapy). Starting off by reading books will allow you to see what prior knowledge all of the kids have. Some books which will work nicely to begin include:
- Oh Say Can You Say Seed? – Bonnie Worth
- A Tiny Seed – Eric Carle
- From Seed to Plant – Gail Gibbons
- The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds – Joanna Cole
- Jack’s Garden – Henry Cole
- How a Seed Grows – Helene Jordan
- Planting a Rainbow – Lois Ehlert
- My Garden – Kevin Henkes
Take time to talk about the different parts of a seed, plant, and what is involved in planting a garden of your own. What items would each child plant in their dream garden and why?
If you have a nice window that will allow you to put something on them, window baggie greenhouses are a great way to share the process of growing a plant. All you will need are zip sandwich baggies, paper towels, soaked bean seeds, and tape. The clear plastic baggie creates a see-through science experiment. Kids will be able to watch a seed germinate within the mini greenhouse. Have kids place a bean seed in the baggie with wet paper towels inside. Tape the baggie onto a window for light. Watch over time and allow kids to share their observations and what changed from day to day.
When window space is not as prevalent, kids adore making grass characters. All you will need is grass seed, some potting soil, and small containers to decorate and put the soil in. Allow kids to decorate their container before you begin. Have a fun theme and allow kids to make a character to fit whatever it is. It could go with a story you have read, or perhaps the plan is to use your grass characters to tell a story once they are all grown. This builds their imagination, creativity, and gross motor skills for drawing and cutting shapes. After the containers are ready, put some potting soil and grass seed into them. Water a little and keep and set them aside. After a few days, the crazy containers will sprout hair in the form of grass.
No matter which item you grow there will be a lot of opportunities to make observations on growth and to talk about them. Think ahead when growing items. Prep the children who you work with that sometimes they do not always grow properly. Have a backup plan, or plant some extras for just in case on your own.
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