Plant a seed in soil, add water and watch it grow--gardening for kids can be like "real-life magic." Children also can learn a great deal about science, nature and the planet by planting and taking care of plants.
Enthrall children with the eating habits of a Venus flytrap (D. muscipula). Native to the bogs of South and North Carolina, this single-species perennial has the ability to catch and "eat" insects. The plant has hinged leaves that are fringed with spines with three small hairs on the inside surface of the leaf. When a fly or another insect touches the hairs they become a trigger and the leaf snaps shut. This plant can die quickly if humidity and moisture are not kept constant. Kids can help mist the Venus flytrap daily. Keep soil moist by standing the pot in a shallow dish of water. Snip off dead traps with scissors.
Beans germinate quickly and grow fast. Let kids plant bean seeds in a small pot with well-drained soil. Keep moist until you see the shoots appear, then water the plant every other day. Vines will soon trail off the side of the pot, or you can provide a stake for upward growth. Kids will enjoy picking bean pods off the plant.
Pineapple is a fun houseplant for kids because it's easy to grow and will eventually produce fruit. Purchase a whole fresh pineapple with a healthy top from the supermarket. Remove the top of the pineapple. Cut off some of the base leaves, then put the stump on its side on a shelf where air circulates for about two weeks or until roots form around the base. Pot in a container using bromeliad soil. As the plant grows, repot into a larger container. The plant will produce a baby pineapple from its central shoot.