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With spring upon us, now is the perfect time to start a diary project exploring how flowers and plants grow - here are some ideas for some growing fun...
- Take one flower pot for each of your children and write on their names. If you only have a single child then take three flower pots and give each a fun name. Fill each with soil and plant a sunflower seed in each. Every week, chart which one is the tallest. Is one always the winner, or do they each grow at different rates? Which one grows to be the tallest?
- Take a flower pot and draw a face on the front, stick on googly eyes. Fill it with soil and sprinkle grass seed on top. Sprinkle a fine layer of soil over the seed and water it. Watch the grass grow as green hair for your character. Every couple of weeks, give your character a hair cut, and see if you can keep it growing throughout the summer!
- Take a discarded plastic food container, wash it out and line it with kitchen roll. Sprinkle cress seeds over it and watch them grow over just a couple of weeks. When they have grown, start pulling them out and eating them in sandwiches or on salads!
- Collect a variety of berries and other seeds from the trees, shrubs and plants in your garden. Plant them in a large pot and see which ones grow. See how quickly you can identify which is which as they appear - do they all look the same to start with? How are they different? Do they appear at the same time or at different times?
- Try growing plants from cuttings rather than seed! Take a glass and fill it 3/4's full with water. Cover the top with two or three layers of cellophane, then go into the garden and take some cuttings from your plants. Herbs such as lavender, rosemary and thyme work well, as do climbing plants such as ivy, honeysuckle or vines; you may propagate many shrubs in this way. Take short stems of new growth, typically 4- 5 inches in length with just one or two pairs of leaves at the top. Pierce the cellophane over your water using a skewer and poke your cuttings through so that the ends are in the water. Over time you should see roots beginning to grow and in time, you will be able to plant them into pots and later into the garden! Seeing the root system grow in water is particularly fascinating - have your children study them and draw how the roots look.
Diary projects are lots of fun with your little ones - keep a log book with drawings of your observations over time, your children will love the ongoing project. If you feel really ambitious, why not plant some vegetables? ...or plant a pumpkin that can be ready for Halloween?!