Seeds + Soil + Sun + Water
Learning how to plant fruits and vegetables can be really rewarding. Plus, kids are more likely to try fruits and veggies if they grew them. By gardening and growing plants, your kids get in touch with nature and learn to appreciate how plants grow from seeds into things we can eat.
Do you think you can match the seed to the fruit or vegetable that it came from? In this fun activity, you will try!
- Go to a gardening store and let your child choose several fruit and vegetable seed packets.
- When you get home, put a few seeds from each packet on a plate or cookie tray.
- Have your child guess which seeds go with each fruit or vegetable packet.
- If you have a garden, read the directions on the packets and grow the different seeds.
Grow a Bean Stalk
Did you know you can grow a pinto or black bean plant from a dried bean? This is a great time to read the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Be sure to let your child know that your plant won’t get as big as the one in the story!
- Soak a bean overnight in a small cup of water. This will soften the outer skin.
- Place your bean inside a damp (not soaking wet) paper towel. Fold the paper towel around the bean several times.
- Place everything into an airtight plastic bag and close it.
- Put the bag in a sunny window. Check it each day. If it gets dry, spray it with water to keep it damp.
- The bean should sprout within the next week!
- Once your bean has a sprout, plant it in soil, water it regularly and watch it grow.
Grow an Herb Garden
It’s easy to grow your own herbs, even if you don’t have a lot of space. You can start with seeds or get little plants from a store. Plant your herbs in pots or tin cans, and make sure to water them when the soil gets dry. If you put your plants in a window that faces south, they will grow faster. When the plants get bigger, your child can help you pick the leaves to use in cooking. Here are some good herbs to start with:
Cilantro grows very quickly, especially when it gets lots of sun. The leaves can be used in guacamole, tacos, nachos and salsa. Save some of the seeds from your plants so you can plant cilantro again.
There are many kinds of mint plants, each with a different flavor. Choose from spearmint, peppermint, lemon mint or even chocolate mint! You can use the leaves in tea or juice. Or, tear them into tiny pieces to add to fresh fruit or a smoothie.
Basil plants need lots of sun, so make sure to keep them in a bright window or on a porch. Basil is great in foods like spaghetti, soups and pizza.
Chives are a member of the onion family and they add a nice flavor to soups, casseroles, and baked potatoes. If you have older children, they might enjoy using safety scissors to snip the chives off the plant — it is like giving the plant a haircut!