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Elementary Introduction to Plants, Seeds, and Gardening – Unit Ideas and Resources

This child led me straight toward a mini-unit on plants and gardening. I’ve never seen anyone so excited about seeds! Read on for our book list, streaming media, ideas, and resources.

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Books

We found wonderful books written for children and adults. Be sure to look for books that are specific to your state or region for practical application.

Picture Books

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Oh Say Can You Seed by Bonnie Worth (a Cat in the Hat book)
The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds by Joanna Cole

Children’s Non-Fiction

Dinner from Dirt by Emily Scott
Kids’ Container Gardening by Cindy Krezel
National Geographic Kids Seed to Plant Reader
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons (Honestly, anytime I see one by Gail Gibbons I know it will be fantastic!)

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Media

Check out my Plants and Gardening Playlist for Kids on YouTube or stream it below. Engaging and short shows, songs, and stories all about plants and how they grow!  Run Time: 40 Minutes

Movies

Honey I Shrunk the Kids
This was such a hit at our house! We came across it during our Field Trip Week just for fun but ended up getting a close up view of the Szalinski’s backyard – plants, bugs, and all! It was also fun to watch a movie featuring a scientist as the main character.

 

Ferngully and Wall-E are some of our favorite “green” movies, and the first Tinkerbell movie has a sweet, fantasy take on the magic of nature.

Amazon Prime

Xploration Awesome Planet Season 1, Episode 5, Plants
Nature Cat Season 1, Episode 3, Part 2 Travelin’ Seeds

Netflix

Magic School Bus Season 1, Episode 11: Goes to Seed 
Sid the Science Kid Episodes 28/29: The Dirt on Dirt and Don’t Forget the Leaves!
Bill Nye the Science Guy Episode 11: Plants

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Activities

By far the biggest advantage to homeschool is the opportunity to leave the paperwork behind and learn from hands-on experience. We will be continuing with Build Your Library for 1st Grade next year, which includes Nature Studies. We’ll be doing a lot of journaling and probably continue creating lapbooks. For now, for kindergarten, we’re enjoying less paper and more real life nature activities. Check out a few ideas below.

Up Close Look at Seeds

We ditched the cut and paste this week in favor of up-close examination of plants in their natural habitat and under a microscope at home. We compared large, round broccoli seeds, teeny tiny basil seeds, spiky seeds, and seeds that looked like tiny sticks. We were surprised at the variation of seed sizes and shapes from plant to plant.

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Using Our Senses

After comparing seeds we hunted for other plant parts. He examined roots and leaves from familiar plants in our own backyard and a rosemary seedling we bought to plant. We activated our prior knowledge of the five senses to describe the ways plant parts look, smell, feel, and taste. This process introduced a slew of new vocabulary that he is now using in day-to-day life: minerals, roots, moisture, soil, herbs… New vocabulary comes up organically (pun intended) when we are talking through hands-on experiences.

Container Garden

My oldest was so excited to start his own container garden. We found this video on YouTube with instructions on how to use milk jugs as containers. What a perfect way to get started with materials we already have at home!

Simply cut off a section of the top of your milk jug, cut four Xs on the bottom with an exacto knife for drainage, fill with potting soil, and you’re ready to go! We hung the containers along the fence with zip ties to keep them up high and away from the prodding and destructive hands of our toddler.

We chose to get started by replanting a small rosemary plant from our garden center and a small pack of basil seeds. Be sure to do your research and ask the experts at your farm or store about what plants to start and when. February in South Florida is the loveliest time of year, but many plants can be started indoors in chilly northern winters.

Field Trips

Places in your area may be seasonal. Be sure to check out websites or call ahead if you’re child has led you to plants in the dead of winter.

Children’s Garden

We are fortunate to live near a huge, beautiful park that is newly opening a Children’s Garden. If you have a botanical garden or park close by, it’s worth it to seek out gardens planted specifically for kids. You’ll find hearty plants are safe to explore with little hands.

Farm or Farmer’s Market

Check out a local farm or farmer’s market to meet real farmers from your community or farms nearby, observe fresh and ripe produce, flowers, and seeds. Look for seedlings for sale from growers with advice for young gardeners. Don’t hesitate to ask! We’ve found that people are excited to share their love of plants with an interested child.

Garden Center

Be sure to visit your local garden center to see plants in all their stages of growth – from seeds and seedlings to full-grown flowering trees. We headed over for a little potting soil and ended up spending an hour examining all of the plants.

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Thanks so much for stopping by! What’s growing in your garden? Feel free to leave us a comment below. Follow all of our gardening adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

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