This activity gives children a chance to bring their own ideas and materials and have real fun trying to grow some plants. Some ‘seeds’ are likely to be more successful than others, but a little exploring and watching what happens can bring its own surprises and excitement. The children may need to be patient as some things they bring in could take quite a long time before they germinate – perhaps a term or more.
For most seeds you need some simple containers (such as yoghurt pots, film pots, plastic plant pots – depending on size), and a way of keeping them warm. They can use a soil
mix or just capillary matting or paper towels as a medium to start the germination process. Children should know that they need to add water and keep them moist. It may be worth trying some under a light bank.
You may wish to buy seeds of interesting plants from a garden centre, e.g. sensitive plants (Mimosa pudica). You can also ask the children to suggest some ideas and let them bring in the seeds, e.g. lemon and orange pips, avocado pips, acorns and conkers.
Some seeds won’t grow immediately because they need a period of dormancy (such as acorns and conkers). Collect these in the autumn and put them in containers of sand (preferably tins) to keep out mice and leave them in an unsheltered place outside. Make holes in the lid and bottom to allow aeration and drainage. In about March, bring them into the warm and plant them. At the same time collect twigs (e.g. horse-chestnut) and allow these to sprout indoors (see Exploring a horse-chestnut bud, in OSMOSIS 17, Spring 2000)
Download the resource from the link on the right for full instructions.