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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Growing in the Garden

This week as we watch Sid the Sid the Science Kid, I have a chance to remind the boys and myself about the simple things we can do every day to help the environment and be mindful of the world around us. Recycling seems to be a snap for the boys (their school environments really set them up for success) and I am often the one who needs reminding about turning off the water. What I really like about this week’s cycle is that the activities and the lessons that tie into things families do every day.
Take, for instance, gardening. My husband does most of the yard work and he can spend hours in the garden, mowing, trimming, pulling weeds, etc. I like to handle the flower boxes, container gardening, and front walkway. To be honest, it is about instant gratification for me, or at least after a morning’s worth of work. This weekend, I decided to include the boys, so we could talk about plants, water sources, the sun, and air. Also, Gerry is out of town and I needed something to keep us all busy! So, we headed over the garden center to buy materials to replant flower planters on the backyard patio.
In the car on the way over, I asked the boys some prep questions.
“What is the environment?” and all I got was silence.
After a few moments, Henry said, “It is everything in nature.”
Not bad! At that moment, I wished I had the glossary from the Sid website at my fingertips. I started talking about the water, air, earth, and plants around us. Then we moved on to dirt.
“Not dirt, mommy,” Leo corrected, “It is SOIL. Plants grow in soil.”
And so they do! So when we got the store, the first thing we did was go in search of soil.
Next we looked at plants. I explained that we needed to find flowers that liked a lot of sun. We examined the labels and pictures in various kinds of plants and came up with a cartload of flowers.
As we were wandering around and looking at all the flowers and plants it dawned on me that the garden center was a wonderful and somewhat inexpensive excursion for us. The center has lots of information, visual support for learning, and wide aisles for the boys to run up and down. I have to remember that the next time I am desperate for a simple afternoon jaunt.
Once we got home, I gave each of the boys their own planter to work on. The flowers I had planted in the spring were dried out. We discovered they were root bound. It was a great opportunity to talk about roots and how plants need space to grow. Then we opened up the bag of soil and the boys got to work.
It took a while for the kids to fill the planters with soil and place the flowers. I pointed out the sun on the patio and the placement of the pots. After the flowers were settled in their new home we soaked them with water. The boys lead every step of the process and learned about what plants need to grow: soil, sun, and water.
Soon Henry and Leo were on to other activities in the yard. I decided to do some more gardening. So I weeded, tended to the ailing lemon tree, and pruned roses. I called the boys over to look at various bugs and tickle their palms with wriggly worms. It was a great afternoon. I am starting to understand why Gerry can spend hours in the backyard. Our environment is a lovely place.
Do you garden with your children? How do you incorporate science words and concepts into you experience outdoors?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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