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Tags: seeds

Playing with Grass

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Kids Activities , Tags: gardens, grass, nature, park, seeds, sorting

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Playing games is the best way to teach children and now the weather is so lovely it's even better to be out in the garden or park while you are learning. Here are some matching and sorting ideas to try out with grasses and seeds for you to find.

  1. Pick some grasses and see how many you can hold without dropping!
  2. Match the grasses: Find grasses with feathery seeds and interesting leaves. Try to get 2 of each sort.  Lay them in a line and see if the little ones can pair them up, matching the same 2 grasses together.
  3. Counting: Count the grasses together.  Take a few away and count them again.
  4. Put the grasses in order according to their length.  Sort them by size and line them up to see the size differences.
  5. Sort the grasses by shade and colour (if you have some green, some brown, some dark green).
  6. Blow: Hold each grass and see what happens when you blow them.  Do seeds fly off, do they bend or break?
  7. Bug hunt: Sit and watch the grass for a while and see how many bugs and spiders you can spot scurrying about.
  8. Shhh: Sit down and listen to the noises you can hear: cars, buzzing bees, laughter, a siren.
  9. Picture: Take the grasses home and make a seed and grass picture with them.

As a follow-up diary project, put some seed into a pot of soil and watch over the next few weeks to see if the seeds germinate and grow into new plants?

Pumpkin Surprise

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: curry, halloween, pasta, pumpkin, puree, seeds, soup

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Now that another Halloween has passed, the shops will be looking to offload their surplus pumpkins as quickly as possible to make way for Christmas; you may have thought that pumpkins are good for nothing but carving, but actually you can make turn them into pretty tasty treats.  Here are just a few pumpkin recipes to introduce this unusual food to your children:-

  • Toasted pumpkin seeds: Scrape out the seeds from the middle of a pumpkin, dry fry them in a heavy based frying pan for 4 to 5 minutes and eat!  For adults, add a little bit of olive oil and salt, but leave unsalted for children.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Perfect for babies!  Cut your pumpkin in half, cover each half with foil and bake in the oven for an hour.  Blend the flesh and freeze into ice cube trays.
  • Pumpkin Soup: Cook the pumpkin as above, add to a pint of chicken or vegetable stock and blend.
  • Pumpkin Pasta: Cook some pasta, dice some pumpkin and sautee it in a skillet with a lid for 3 - 5 minutes.  Toss into your cooked pasta, add a tablespoon of creme fraiche and serve.
  • Pumpkin Curry: follow any traditional chicken curry recipe substituting diced pumpkin for the meat.

We tend not to consider pumpkin as a food, rather a novelty item to adorn Halloween, but actually it's very versatile and can be used in lots of different ways!  Look out a pumpkin in the post-Halloween sales and see for yourself!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Preschool Children, Kids Activities , Tags: cress, cuttings, diary project, grass, growing, plants, pumpkins, seeds, sunflowers, vegetables

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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?!


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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