When I started writing for Classroom Jr., I asked some of my teacher and homeschooler friends what types of things would be most useful for them. One of the responses I got was that because budgets are so tight, it’s pretty hard to find science experiments that are both accessible and affordable. That’s exactly why one of my very first posts was Six Inexpensive Science Experiments for Kids (And Where to Find More).
So, now wherever I travel around the web, I always keep my eyes open for new ideas that fit in with this need. While surfing Pinterest recently—I’ve also written about possibilities there with 3 Creative Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest—I came across this super easy idea that I never would have even realized was possible. Talk about a totally simple science lesson that using things you already have on hand!
Related Pages: Plant Life Worksheets, Toddler Friendly Gardening
Teach Your Kids Where Their Food Comes From
Sprouting various foods in the kitchen has a few practical applications from an educational standpoint. Obviously, you can teach about the life cycle of the plant as it goes from seed to sprout to plant to bloom and back to seed. It can be a great additional lesson when studying the seasons, as each aspect of the plant’s cycle is often correlates to the seasons and weather. Finally, I love the idea of kids learning first-hand where their food comes from, beyond the obvious answer of “the grocery store!”
I was surprised to learn just how many things you can sprout and grow. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me that you could grow bean plants, for instance, but I just never would have expected they would even sprout! I found lots of suggestions in this Martha Stewart post, of all things. In addition to beans, they also recommended trying:
- Root vegetables
- Fruit seeds
- Spices (caraway seeds, mustard, etc.)
You can also use a variety of things you already have around the house for sprouting your seeds. Some suggestions include discarded jars, clear canisters, egg cartons, pie plates, and even an aquarium. Some will just need a moist paper towel in order to sprout, while others will do better with soil or perhaps a dish full of moist gravel.
If you want to take things to the next level and augment a lesson about agriculture, why not actually grow and eat food in your kitchen. Consider different kinds of sprouts to add to sandwiches and salads, for example, such as alfalfa, broccoli, and peas. Of course, herbs make a great window or even counter-top garden, as well. You might have to specifically purchase seeds for these projects rather than using dried beans from the cupboard or caraway seeds from the spice rack, but it does make for a great science experiment.