Bite-Science Activities feature bite-sized science experiments that allow you to explore STEM concepts with your children through hands-on activities.
Let’s face it. Plants might not appear to be the most interesting living things on this planet. They don’t come running to you when you are home, nor do they respond when you call their name. Most children would be wildly excited by an adorable little puppy, as opposed to…a cactus, for example.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a plant hater – as a KidsSTOPTM educator, I believe it is incredibly valuable for children to learn about plants in an engaging way. And with the Internet and social media becoming a staple in their lives, children pay even less attention to the world around them.
Plants play an extremely important role at the bottom of every food chain. They act as a primary energy source (fossil fuels), provide oxygen for all other fauna, balance ecosystems – the bottom line is, we cannot survive without plants.
Therefore, it is crucial that future generations continue to have an interest in understanding them and their importance.
Sounds like an unsurmountable task? Don’t worry, one of the easiest ways to intrigue a child starts with planting a seed. Before you click away, just take a quick look at some benefits that gardening has to offer:
Better eating habits
Children who grow their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to incorporate them into their diet.
Better emotional health
Children gain pleasure from harvesting their literal fruits of labour, increasing their self-esteem while reducing stress.
Better school performance
Community gardening improves children’s ability to communicate their knowledge to others, as well as aiding the development of their scientific skills in observation, prediction and measurement.
If you’re looking for ways to get started, here’s how you can spark your child’s interest in plants by teaching seed germination. Make a transparent planter with a CD case with your child and observe how a seed germinates!
- Empty the CD case and position it with the hinge on top.
- Fill half of the CD case with soil/cotton wool.
- Place the seeds on top of the soil/cotton wool evenly.
- Close the CD case. Seal the edges shut with duct tape, ensuring that the hinge remains open.
- Slowly drip some water into the CD case. Make sure that the seeds are moist, not soaked.
- Place the CD planter in an upright position and decorate it as desired!
- As you observe the seed germination process with your child, label the parts of the seedlings once they have germinated.
Encourage your child to follow these steps independently but assist them if they require additional help.
To maximise your child’s learning from this activity, develop his/her scientific skills at the same time! You can ask him/her the following questions, and record his/her predictions and observations on a piece of paper:
- What will happen to the seed after a few days?
- Which part of the seedling will grow first?
- How long will it take for the seed to grow leaves?
- What will happen if water is not added?
- The root is the first part of a seedling to emerge during germination. This allows the seed to take in water.
- Next, the shoot will start to develop, bringing the plant above ground. Leaves will then start to grow to allow the seedling to make its own food.
If you made it this far, you definitely have the patience required to start a gardening project with your children. Here are some other suggestions for you to develop your green thumbs:
- Try some edible yet easy-to-grow plants! Kang kong, kai lan, chye sim, long beans and brinjals are all beginner friendly.
- Touch the soil to feel if it is damp before watering to avoid drowning the plants. This doubles up as a sensorial activity for young children!
- Herbs such as lemongrass and mint taste and smell great, serving as great sensorial stimuli for engaging children too!
- Make your own compost to create the ideal environment for growing plants. Check out our video about DIY compost to find out how!
*This activity is not suitable for children under the age of 3.
Written by Ang Shi Min
Edited by Kow Zi Shan
Illustrations by Jasreel Tan