It’s only June, and my preschool age son is already antsy for school. He asked me to “play preschool” with him yesterday. A convenient request, since I’m pretty good at playing preschool. He’s watched the show Sid the Science Kid on PBS (a great show for kids and teachers alike), and wanted to do a “Super Fab Lab” science activity like they do. He was in luck! I just happened to have such an activity on hand! It might be one you’d like to recreate as well!
I had been sprouting pumpkin seeds in Ziplocs with wet paper towels. It gives them a jump-start when you plant them, and also helps me determine whether or not the seeds we’ve dried from last year’s jack-o-lanterns are viable seeds. Well, the seeds were great, and I’d planted all I could use, but still had quite a few left over in a bag. Being a procrastinator, I left the last bag on the window sill, until I decided what to do with it. And then I forgot about it. I noticed it the other day, and it had full-on seedlings in it. Luckily I didn’t throw it out, because it was perfect for our “Super Fab Lab”.
I pulled out my dry pumpkin seeds and let my boys examine them with their magnifying glasses. We talked about what they were and where they came from. Then I showed them the seedlings. I pulled out one for each of them to examine with their magnifying glasses. We talked about the parts of the plant and what it requried to grow. Then they drew pictures in their notebooks of what they had observed. Each seedling was a little bit different, so their pictures could be too. Once they were done, they told me about their pictures, which provided for another review of the plant parts (“Here’s the seed, and the roots, the stem and the leaves.”)
We talked a little about the function of the roots. I told them that they work like little fingers, holding the plant into the ground. They also work like straws, sucking up the water that the plant needs to grow.
Then, in another stroke of luck, I pulled out the see-through seed gardens we had planted earlier. We looked at how the roots grow beneath the soil, and hold the plant in place. They wanted to record their observations in their notebooks again, so they did. As we wrapped up, they got the idea to look inside the seeds to see what they look like. Another great way to examine a seed!
Like I said, this was an activity based a lot on luck. I happened to have these seed/plant specimens on hand. But it wouldn’t be too hard to plan such an activity ahead of time. The sprouted seeds had been soaked overnight and then left in the baggie for about 2 weeks. They provided some great, strong seedlings for handling and examining. This would work really well as a small group activity or as part of your sensory or science tables. The boys loved being scientists and exploring the parts of these little seedlings! And they just happened to learn a thing or two along the way! In addition to being a great life science activity, teaching about the parts of plants, the opportunity for using tools like a magnifying glass and recording observations hone overall science skills.
For more Seeds & Plants activities, click here.