During the cooler days of fall, planning and planting bulbs for a spring garden can be a fun, hands on learning experience for your kids.
Once you’ve purchased your bulbs, a little science lesson comes into play before the bulbs go into the ground. Take time to teach kids how those bulbs will transform into beautiful spring flowers!
What you need…
• Bulbs for spring flowers
• Sharp knife
• Cutting board
• Paper, pencil and colored pencils
What to do…
1. Let your child look at and handle the bulbs. Ask her if she can imagine how flowers will come from the bulbs.
2. Explain to your child that everything the flower needs to grow is inside the bulb, kind of like a seed. Discuss ways that bulbs and seeds are alike and different. (Here is a good resource – http://ezinearticles.com/?Know-the-Difference-Between-a-Tulip-Bulb-and-a-Seed&id=510863)
3. Using a cutting board and a sharp knife, cut a bulb in half lengthwise for your child.
4. Let your child examine the inside of the bulb. Tell him that what he is seeing will become the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Ask him to draw a picture of what the cut open bulb looks like.
5. Point out the flower bud in the very center of the bulb. Have your child label the flower bud on her drawing. (To help you find the bulb parts, go to http://www.enchantedlearning.com)
6. The flat part on the bottom of the bulb is the roots. Ask your child to find the roots on the bulb and then label them on his drawing.
7. Show your child the basal stem, located just above the roots. Have her label the stem on her drawing.
8. Ask your child to examine the bulb and try to guess which part will become the leaves. Have him label this on his drawing.
9. Encourage your child to color her drawing of the bulb.
10. Read information on the bulb packaging to your child. Look around your yard for a place to plant the bulbs where they will get the right amount of sunlight to grow.
11. Read planting instructions to your child, focusing on important information including how deep and how far apart to plant the bulbs.
12. Dig a trench in the ground to the correct depth. Let your child measure the trench’s depth with a ruler.
13. Show your child where the roots are on the bulb. Have him place the bulbs in the ground, roots down. Let him use a ruler to see how far apart to plant the bulbs, then encourage him to estimate the distance as he
14. Cover the bulbs with soil and have your child water her garden. When spring comes, enjoy!
Fall bulb planting provides a wonderful opportunity for a natural science lesson. When the bulb is cut open, kids get the chance to see the parts of a flower and can make the connection between a bulb and a seed. Math skills used during planting include measuring and estimating.
For more information about bulbs, visit http://www.gardening-guides.com/pdf-library/all-about-bulbs.pdf
Looking to experience Hand On Science activities right here in our own area? Visit www.TheChildrensScienceCenter.org, where you and your children can “Explore, Create, Inspire.” The Children’s Science Center (CSC) is committed to building a place where children can grow in their love of learning.
Robin Lundgren is a writer and Vice President of Aquarian Entertainment.