Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Science Summer Toolbox: The Outdoors! by Shauna Davey Goldman


Living things outside can be easily observed, the size of a tree, colors in a garden, noises from animals. These observations also change with the season or even the time of day. The outdoors is filled with wonderful learning opportunity for little scientists.  They may ask questions, including how do seeds grow into plants? Instead of telling them the answer, you can say "let's find out!"

One activity to try is to grow a plant from a seed! You and your child can select a flower bulb or germinating bean seeds to plant in soil. Be sure to find a space to plant with enough drainage and enough sunlight. (Of course, if the plant doesn't thrive because of either of these reasons, it is still a scientific observation and worth discussion and reflection!) You can use this Comparison Chart from week to week to have your child draw a picture of what they see. When did they see their plant first sprout? How tall is it? What does a sprout look like? Help them remember to water and care for the sprout! Introduce vocabulary words such as root, bulbs, soil, sprout.

Do you have a garden space? A container garden? What would your child like to grow?