Growing Magic Beans
Walt Disney said it best when he stated, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” Over the years I’ve come to realize that many of my core beliefs when I teach match up with his -the need to teach through storytelling, the need for innovation and creativity and that people are the most productive when they are inspired by what they have done. Never is this truer than when seen through the eyes of a child.Welcome to Summer Camp. A new weekly series to help you combat the two most dreaded words of the summer “I’m Bored!” Each week we will be offering to you simple activities that you can do with the children in your life with virtually no prep and no expense. The only limits are your imagination. Sound like fun? Then let’s get started! This week we’re starting with seeds.
To Gather Ahead of time: Plastic Cups, Cotton Balls, or Dirt, Lima Beans
Watching lima bean seeds grow into to a bean plant is a common science project for young children. Bean seeds that are placed in a plastic cup with moist cotton germinate rapidly. The cotton retains the moisture for the seeds and provides just enough for them to germinate. It also keeps the seeds from getting too moist and from rotting. Once germinated, the seedlings can be dissected if it’s a science experiment, or they can be transplanted right into your garden.
To create the magic of the project, read Mickey and the Beanstock or Jack and the Beanstalk.
Have the children fill a plastic cup with cotton balls. Dirt can also be used in place of the cotton or fill two cups- one with dirt and one with cotton to use as a comparison later on.
Have the children place several beans in between the cotton and the cup. This will allow them to see the seeds and observe them as they grow.
Moisten the cotton with water so that it is damp but not soaked.
Place the cups in a sunny window and watch for germination. Lima beans geminate quickly and you should start to see plants within a few days. As you can see, we had a sprout within a few hours!
Transplant the germinated bean plants into a pot or a garden if you want to grow them to mature size.
No cups available? Try placing a seed on a moist paper towel inside of a zip lock bag and tape the bag to a window that gets sunlight.
Extending the Fun:
Buy small clay pots and let the children decorate their posts so that their plants can be transplanted once they are grown
Go on a nature walk through the neighborhood. Collect seeds and leaves along the way. Bring them home to collage. Put out scraps of construction paper and let them create their own flower designs.
And just for some added fun, let your kids act out the story of Mickey and the Beanstalk
If you’re one of the lucky families that will be heading to Walt Disney World this summer and want to further explore be sure not to miss The Land Pavilion in Epcot. Here you will be able to see first-hand the future of agriculture and will be able to interact with amazing plants, insects and fish. Be sure to check out Behind the Seeds, a one-hour tour of the fish and the 4 greenhouses that make up The Land Pavilion. In the meantime, let us know what you used for your seed project and what creative ideas you are using this summer with your children. We would love to hear from you and share your ideas, stories and pictures. Up next week, how to create your own homemade ice cream with kids.