Children love to garden but sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate. Continue gardening activities inside until the rain clears, temperatures rise and spring arrives. Starting seeds inside for spring planting is one activity that keeps kids involved with growing plants. There are others as well.
Starting Seeds in Eggshells
Next time you make eggs for breakfast, take a needle and poke a hole through the big end of the shell. This serves as a drainage hole. Then break the shells so the bottom 2/3 of the shell is intact. Save the egg carton but remove the lid. Have the child soak large seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. It helps the seeds germinate faster. Place the egg shells back in the carton. Fill with wet but not soggy new potting soil. Have the child plant the seeds 1/2 to an each deep in the soil. Cover with egg carton and planted shells with plastic wrap. Place in a sunny window. When the seeds sprout remove the plastic wrap. When the weather warms plant in the garden egg shell and all.
Cut the top inch off of root vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas and sweet potatoes. Place in flat bottom glass dishes on top of a layer of marbles. The marbles keep the cutting off the bottom and give the roots a chance to grow. More than one root cutting may be placed in the same dish. Fill the dish with water up to the crown of the cutting. The water should not submerge the cutting. Place in a sunny window and in a few days the tops will start to sprout new leaves.
Big and Little
Comparing big and little seeds is fun, especially when the child gets to eat the fruit or veggies. Go grocery shopping and let the child choose a selection of fruits. Suggestions would be melon, banana, avocado, mango, apple, peach and strawberries. Have the child arrange the fruit from big to little. If you have a digital camera take a photo of the fruits, otherwise make a list of big to little.
Cut the fruits open and let the child find the seeds and arrange them from big to little. Now compare the big seeds to the biggest fruits and so forth using the digital photo or list you made. While he may have ranked the banana as one of the largest fruits it has one of the tiniest seeds. The avocado is a midsize fruit but has a huge seed. The mango is a big fruit with a big seed.
Dry the seeds for a few days and then have the child plant them. Most of the seeds should germinate in two weeks or so if kept watered in a sunny warm window.
Plant a Fish Terrarium
Use a fish bowl or bubble vase. Fill the bottom with a layer of pebbles, then a layer of washed activated charcoal, the kind used for aquarium filters, and finally a layer of new moistened potting soil. The depth of the layers depends on how large the bowl is. Two inches each of pebbles and charcoal and a 4 inch layer of soil works well. The child plants a variety of small house plants in the soil, leaving room between the plants for seashells. Place a few plastic fish in among the plants. Water by misting the plants.