April 22, 2014 is Earth Day! Start planning now to teach children about the importance of seed, where their food comes from and conservation of the Earth's resources. Here is a pictorial instruction blog on a really successful and fun way of how to achieve this.
What better way to teach children about Earth Day than planting seeds! The example you see here was for about 50 children and an adult was at each station with their parents helping them move from station to station.
First, you will need a few things.
A pot to plant in. We have seen schools use recycled milk cartons (which further promote the idea of Earth Day) or, as you see, that this year we used peat pots. They are very easy to write children's names on with big permanent markers and the whole pot can later be planted in the garden. Once the child has their own pot they move on to soil station.
Dirt! Depending on the age of the child this can be very simple and easy. Here we used brightly colored bins with simple bagged potting soil. Plastic shovels like the ones you would buy for the beach are perfect. This is one station where you must keep a watchful eye as dirt flinging (as exciting as it is) can get out of hand and end up anywhere but the pot! From this point the child will move on to select their seed.
The seed station is perhaps the most exciting for the children as this is where they really get to learn and react with what they are doing. Here I am, at the seed station, explaining all the great choices of seed. We typically put out about 10 kinds, but no more as it can be an overwhelming choice. We also use large seeded crops like beans or corn. These seeds are easy for children to pick up with their fingers. Brightly colored varieties are the best and they attract the most amount of attention.
It is at this station you have chance to engage the children with questions like:
Where does your food come from?
Have you ever grown your own food or do your parents have a garden?
Who do you think grows the food you eat?
What does a corn stalk look like?
Do you think you might be a farmer one day?
How will you care for your seedling? Where will you plant it?
Integrating the story of the Lorax into this station could work wonderfully or it could be a story telling station as well. Kids get super excited after they hear this story and want to do their part.
Watering is the final step and best done with small watering cans that the children can handle. The adult at this station will want to help so all the soil does not get washed away and to explain the importance of watering a plant. This is also a good time to talk about how water is so very vital to life and how all living things need good clean water. Water conservation is key to any good Earth Day event, I believe, and this one small step of watering a seed can really bring that point home to a small child.
Next, you will want a tray to put all the children's pots in. Depending on your school or group you will want to put these in a warm and sunny spot, but also a spot where the children can monitor them. Perhaps the most exciting thing for a small child is watch that seedling that they planted break the ground and come up. There is a real sense of pride and accomplishment with this one small event.
This has been a wildly successful event for us at Sustainable Seed Co. and children will frequently want to get back in line several times to plant a seed because one pot was simply not enough! What a wonderful way to teach children and celebrate Earth Day. Have fun and sends us your photos!!!