Grow a Science Garden

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This indoor way to show your kids how vegetables grow is almost trippy! All you need is a head of romaine and a small glass jar. Then watch the magic happen.

Cut the leaves from the base of the romaine. Use the leaves for a big salad of course. I also gave my budding chef some of the leaves to play with in his set of pots and pans.

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Meanwhile, trim the very bottom of the romaine head off thinly – this will help it absorb more water.

Here is a slightly skeptical Travis checking out the early stage of our experiment.

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Place in a glass of water, making sure the base is completely covered, and place somewhere sunny. Change the water every day and watch your romaine sprout!

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Within a day we had a few little leaves.

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The picture at the top of this post shows growth after about 4 days. We can’t wait until we have enough for a fresh salad!

If you want to continue the fun, try the same experiment with a fennel bulb. You can also save the tops of carrots or radishes, place in a shallow dish with water, and watch for fresh greens to emerge. Thanks to Parents magazine for the idea!

Update: Here’s the lettuce about a week in, as tall as we let it grow. Honestly it was beginning to brown slightly around the edges, so I’m not sure I’d recommend growing it longer.

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But needless to say, Travis was thrilled!

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Farm Land

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Farming is naturally on our minds this time of year, with local farmstands around us beginning to brim with late spring and early summer produce. This project is a neat visual if you are doing a unit at home about farming, about where food comes from, and about different landscapes children might see on a farm.

To get the most out of the craft, I recommend first looking at a book with a good visual of farmland, or finding a few pictures online. Although not very vegan-friendly, my son loves the description of farm life year-round in Gail Gibbon’s Farming.

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We talked about the different portions of land he saw in the picture, starting with what was up top – sky – and what was on the bottom – garden dirt.

Next I cut paper into 4 pieces, and we took turns painting them in color blocks just like in the picture: blue for sky, green for grass, yellow for hay or wheat, and brown for the vegetable patch.

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Let your colors dry, then come back to add details. For added fun, we raided mommy’s bathroom cabinet and used cotton balls for clouds:

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… and q-tips to paint details like flowers in the meadow and brown wheat in the yellow section. Let dry again.

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The final step was to use a glue stick to put it all back together again on a large piece of construction paper. This is neat because it will be almost like a puzzle for the kids. Don’t worry if a few sections get mixed up along the way.

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If you can, cap things off with a trip to a local farm; lots of places have pick-your-own veggies and berries getting underway now that we’re almost to June!