Ask a Question forum→Choosing seed for a preschool seed starting project

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Feb 13, 2021 8:09 AM CST
I am an experienced gardener and library associate. We will be offering a "Take and make" kit for seed starting for toddlers- preschoolers.

I want the kit to be fun and satisfying for parents and their toddlers-prechoolers. It is hard for me to 'dial back' my expectations on planting seeds. (I want every seed to go an and lead a full and satisfying life hahaha) I also tend to overthink things.

Each kit is a paper lunch bag with supplies and instructions or activity sheet. I will need at least 70, and if they are popular would hope to be able to make another 50. We will include a cup or two cut from an egg carton, (since they are free, and everyone in my work world {except me} thinks it is just so clever and fun to plant seeds in an egg carton). We will include a little baggie of potting mix, and seeds.

We will not buy individual seed packets for this- too much$. I think the expectation is- let my kid see that a seed will transform into a seedling. (not expecting long life for the seedling, but I guess some might have the wherewithal to pot it up and plant it out. I could do whole corn, off of cobs. Or sunflower seeds- either are sold bulk, cheap, nearby.

Do those sounds like OK choices?


i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Feb 13, 2021 8:25 AM CST
If you are not looking for longevity, I would think that pole beans, squash and watermelons might be good choices. These all produce good sized seedlings so small children might see them more easily and be excited.

My neighbor in NY for 38 years was a 4 year old preschool teacher. Depending upon how many students you have, Home Depot donated enough seed packets of just those very seeds to supply the entire school. I would guess that they enrolled 300 kids but in a single packet of pole beans, there are a lot of seeds in there!
I mean a donation of 20 seed packs might have done the trick up in NY.
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[Last edited by BigBill - Feb 13, 2021 8:30 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 13, 2021 11:47 AM CST
When we did this project when my kids were in kindergarten, we used dried beans purchased at the grocery store.
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Name: Ken Isaac
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Zone 7a)
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kenisaac
Feb 14, 2021 10:04 AM CST
sallyg said:(I want every seed to go an and lead a full and satisfying life hahaha)

Whistling
But seriously, as a parent, I've seen lots of plants come home! And I've appreciated those willing to teach the kids about nature and plants.

**** beans ****
I'm a fan of 'quick sprouting' and 'dramatic' leaves, as both parents and littles won't have much of an attention span past a week or two.
Beans: cheap, easy to sprout, makes a big leaf. Almost foolproof, but will never make it to a garden!

One project our kids brought home was bean seeds in a baggie with paper towel inside. "Just put in a clear glass, in a warm place, add water, keep moist, and check for sprouting" was the instructions.

My niece (of preschool twins) just showed me her kids project. One sprouted, one didn't, and the child with the "unsprouted" was disappointed. (I told the mom to secretly bury a handful of bean seeds in it...)

We had more time and resources for our "family planting workshop." We had donated onion starts and tomato seedlings to transplant into plastic cups & a large potted rosemary to make cuttings of in used plastic water bottle, cut in half and retaped.

Good luck, and every effort you make is worth it!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Feb 14, 2021 10:36 AM CST
thanks for your input Ken. and encouragement
Smiling
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Feb 14, 2021 5:24 PM CST
As an enthusiast, I would vote for Viburnum and Ilex species. As a pragmatist, I wouldn't suggest them for kids - both species typically take two years to germinate.

I am a big fan of large seeds, too. Acorns from Oaks, Coffee Tree seeds, Honeylocust seeds, Walnuts, Buckeyes, etc. are almost embarrassingly easy to find - even this time of year. I wouldn't recommend eating them, and they might be a bit large for egg carton pots.

Other really fast germinators are at the other end of the size spectrum: Graminaceae. Annual Rye and Winter Oats generally sprout really fast, and this is why they are often used to stabilize disturbed soils.

I hope your participants have a great time, and send you pictures of their results - so you can post them here.
John
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Feb 14, 2021 6:51 PM CST
Thanks, John.. we always hope we're creating a future gardener!
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Mikelzz
sarasota FL (Zone 10a)
zylvert
Feb 27, 2021 7:37 PM CST
as a former teacher we sprouted beans and then kids took them home and they DIED!

kids were bummed out and i cannot think of one that was inspired to try it again

another time we sprouted avocado seeds ,,large,,fun to watch and them they had a plant to keep for life, or plants outdoors depending where you live


got the avocado seeds from places that make salads or Mexican restaurants

fun!!

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Feb 28, 2021 6:35 AM CST
zylvert said:as a former teacher we sprouted beans and then kids took them home and they DIED!

kids were bummed out and i cannot think of one that was inspired to try it again



Wow, that's a reality check. I may include a cautionary statement to parents.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)

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