Planting seeds and watching them grow is one of the most rewarding STEAM activities for preschoolers. In this hands-on science investigation, kids plant seeds and observe the conditions of the environment that promote seed germination and plant growth.
One of the benefits of gardening for kids is that they can do a lot of the planning, preparation and planting themselves, with just a little guidance from a grownup. Providing a suitable work surface and kid-friendly tools will help make the activity run more smoothly.
STEAM Challenge: What are the best conditions for plants to grow?
- bean seeds
- planting soil
Invite kids to think about how they will plant the seeds, and what will help the plants to grow.
Ask questions: What do seeds need to grow?
Make a hypothesis: Seeds need soil and water and sunlight.
Experiment: Add planting soil to two similar pots. Drop 2 bean seeds into each pot and cover with a little soil.
Bean seeds are a good size for kids to handle and sprouts appear within a couple weeks.
- Place one pot outside in the sunlight, or indoors in an area with lots of natural light. Water daily.
- Place one pot inside in an unlit area. Do not water.
Observation: The seeds that were kept out of the sun and never watered barely broke through the soil in the pot. The seeds that were watered regularly and kept in sunlight grew much taller.
Conclusion: Plants grow best with sun and water. The seed that was not watered and was kept out of the sunlight was able to draw just enough moisture from the soil and air to germinate and try to grow.
How this activity demonstrates STEAM:
Science: seed germination
Technology: using digging tools, watering can, planters
Engineering: planning environment (depth of soil, fertilizer, location)
Math: number of seeds, size of planters
Art: colors of seeds and plants produced
This STEAM activity builds creativity and resourcefulness in kids as they decide how much soil their seeds need when it’s time to water, and where to locate their plants to get the most sunlight. And while kids have to practice a little patience until the seeds germinate, observing plant growth will be worth the wait!
About the author: Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of preschooltoolkit.com, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Linkedin.