Preschoolers are fascinated by the notion that a tiny seed can emerge from the ground as a plant. Use that fascination to teach your class more about the science behind growing living plants. Age-appropriate, hands-on lessons are engaging for preschoolers and give them a chance to get up close and personal with how seeds turn into plants. As the preschoolers enjoy what they're learning, they're also more likely to remember it in the future.
Prepare an area to plant seeds. If you're planting in a dedicated garden space, ask preschoolers to pick up any trash and pull any weeds they see. If you're using pots, ask preschoolers to make sure they're empty and ready to plant in. This teaches preschoolers to plan ahead. It also gives them a chance to learn the basics of gardening, such as making room for the plants and learning to pull weeds.
Rake the garden area or fill pots with potting soil. Demonstrate how to use a small trowel to dig a hole for each seed you're planting. Show preschoolers how to place a seed into each hole and gently cover it with potting soil or dirt. Encourage each preschooler to plant a seed or two on their own. In addition to learning how to plant a seed, preschoolers will recognize that seeds need soil to sprout.
Let each preschooler take a turn watering the newly planted seeds using a garden hose or a watering can. Remind the children that seeds can't grow without water, just like children can't grow if they don't have enough water to drink. The overall goal with this step is to teach preschoolers that plants needs certain things to survive, and water is one of the most important.
Make predictions with the children about how many days they think it will take for the seeds to sprout, what they will look like and how tall they will grow. If you've planted more than one kind of seed, ask the preschoolers to predict which ones will sprout first. This encourages preschoolers to make observations about what has already happened so they can make connections with what might happen in the future.
Make observation books for each preschooler. Staple several pieces of blank paper together and ask the children to draw what they observe as the seeds sprout and begin to grow taller. Have the preschoolers share their observations and share what they notice, for example, that plants grow taller from week to week and leaves will wilt if they aren't watered well and often enough. The finished books can be used to assess how well the students understand the seed to plant cycle.
Continue observing the growing plants throughout the duration of your seeds-and-plants unit. If time allows, harvest any fruits or vegetables you grow and let the preschoolers taste the different kinds. If you grow flowers, let the preschoolers make bouquets to give to their parents or grandparents. Letting the children reap the benefits of the garden connects them to nature and gives them the pleasure of seeing their hard work come to fruition.
- ['Garden rake', 'Small trowels', 'Potting soil', 'Pots', 'Seeds', 'Watering can or garden hose', 'Paper', 'Stapler', 'Crayons', 'Pencils']
Give each preschooler a pair of gardening gloves and a small trowel to give them a sense of ownership over their seeds and plants.
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images