Preschool children only need a few ingredients to get a small herb garden underway. An egg carton, some planting soil, a handful of seeds, and a bottle of water are the basic tools for sprouting seeds indoors. Fill each egg cup part way with potting soil, add a few seeds, and then sprinkle a thin layer of soil over the top. After a few days, plants will begin to grow, leading into a science project that can last for months.
Herbs in Cans
National Geographic’s kid section offers a great idea for growing herbs in a can. In addition to the herb project, this idea includes decorating the can and other fun and beneficial tasks. More than a simple lesson in horticulture, this idea develops fine motor skills, sensorial exploration, and more.
Herb gardens offer a wealth of sensorial opportunities. Silver sage, coneflowers, and yarrow tantalize the sense of touch, sunflowers provide visual stimulation as they grow, herbs like chives and mint tease the tastebuds, and most herbs emit a variety of delicious scents. Once the weather is warm enough to move herb planters outdoors, they will even provide audible stimulation by attracting many types of insects like butterflies, bees, and crickets.
Other plant ideas for preschoolers include growing things like potatoes and celery from table scraps, “hydroponic” gardening on sponges and cotton balls, and guessing games based on touch, taste, or smell. And since every kid likes to play in the dirt, they will love projects that allow them to get involved. Don’t forget to add a few wriggly earthworms to keep the soil healthy and teach about the symbiosis of nature.