Itís an early spring!

        With our early warm weather this year, spring has come sooner than usual. Itís a rejuvenation process that we can see all around us, as well as feel inside ourselves. Itís a wonderful time to plant seeds.

        This is an activity that is easy to work on together at home and it can be a fun lesson for children to learn about the way things grow.

        You may buy seeds, but you can also sprout several things that you probably already have in the house, such as a potato, sweet potato, or carrot top. You could also see what happens when you plant seeds from fruit or vegetables you eat at home.

        The Tiny Seed is a wonderful book by Eric Carle. It chronicles the cycle of a seed being planted and growing into a flower. This is but one of many cycles of life that children can learn about in order to appreciate the wonder of the world around them.

        Another Eric Carle book, Pancakes, Pancakes, chronicles the steps it takes to be able to put pancakes on the breakfast table -- from harvesting wheat to making the pancakes themselves. It is a great example for showing children that what they eat had a beginning in nature and didnít just pop out of a box purchased in the grocery store. Itís a wordless book. As such, you may describe each picture to your child. On re-tellings, your little one will be able to "read" the story to you.

        Many other books explain the benefits of plants to people. I have found that children as young as first graders can understand the process through which plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, while people do the opposite. This is an example through which we explain to children the relationship that people have with plants, and how important they are to us.

        Planting seeds and watching them grow puts children in touch with a vital force of nature. It is an easy way to give them this connection, and leads to a respect and understanding of the process on which we all depend for food and oxygen.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson