Spring and planting go together

        As the weather gets warmer and we start thinking about spring, it is a good time to plant seeds and watch their growth.

        This process 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.

        If you do not have an outdoor place in which to plant seeds, indoor cups or flower pots will do. 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 are already 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.

        The Reason for a Flower, by Ruth Heller and From Seed to Plant, by Gail Gibbons are excellent books that give botanical facts in ways that young children can understand them.

        Many other books explain the benefits of plants to people. 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.

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