Fun Classroom Activities and Experiments to Interest Kids in Growing Plants

Updated on September 13, 2016

There are several fun classroom activities that will get children interested in growing plants and finding out more about them. Some of these activities were what first captured my imagination as a child, and are the reason I still love growing plants to this day.

I hope this article will give any teachers or parents, reading it, some good ideas they can try out on their pupils or children. I promise you the kids love it.

Growing a Runner Bean

All the children need for this activity is an empty clear glass pickle jar or similar, a sheet of blotting paper or several sheets of kitchen roll, and a runner bean seed.

The method is simple. Roll the blotting paper or sheets of kitchen roll into a tube that you can insert into the jar.

Wedge a runner bean seed between the blotting paper/kitchen roll and the side of the jar.

Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the jar.

The water will travel up the blotting paper or kitchen roll, and the bean will begin to germinate. Keep the water level topped up, and the children can watch as the bean produces a whole root system at a phenomenal rate.

Ultimately they can then pot this bean into a plastic pot of compost, take it home, and later plant it out in their own garden with a bamboo cane for support. The exciting thing will be them being able to eat their own beans at the end of the experiment.

Grow a Carrot Top

Get hold of the top of a carrot (the bit you usually chop off where the foliage used to be).

Place this carrot top in a saucer full of water and keep topped up.

Over the next few weeks the carrot will sprout new foliage and continue to thrive unless you allow the water to dry up.

I believe this will work with pineapples too, and no doubt with parsnips, etc.

Grow an Avocado Stone

Save the stone from inside an avocado pear.

Get an empty clear glass jar, then insert three or four cocktail sticks into the sides of the avocado stone.

Balance the stone on top of the jar using the cocktail sticks as support.

Add enough water to the jar so that the bottom of the stone is submerged.

Ensure the water stays topped up to this level.

After a week or so you will see the avocado stone produce a root system and you can continue to grow it on until it is ready to be potted on into a good quality compost.

Growing a Cutting

Growing a cutting can be fun too. I recommend fuchsias or geraniums as they are easy to grow.

First, get a cutting by taking a section of non-flowering stem and cut it free with a clean knife from just below a leaf joint.

Remove the leaves immediately above the cut.

Get hold of a thin sheet of polystyrene and punch some small holes in it.

Thread the stems of your cuttings though the holes so the remaining leaves are on the top surface of the polystyrene.

Obtain a tray or tub suitable for holding water and fill virtually to the top.

Float the polystyrene complete with the cuttings on top of the water, or if the jar is small enough you can balance the cutting within the water using its leaves to suspend it on the neck of the jar, and without the need for polystyrene (as per the right hand image).

Change the water every couple of days, and before too long your cuttings will produce a root system. Then cut away the polystyrene from the cuttings, and they can carefully be potted on into 3" pots of compost.

Bean Sprouts, Mung Beans or Mustard and Cress

All of these grow fast (about a week to ten days) and can easily be grown on a damp piece of tissue, cotton wool, or a tiny amount of compost in a saucer or old margarine tub. Children love to watch things happen quickly, and the best bit is they can eat the end results. Just make sure the tissue or compost never dries out.

These are also ideal 'pocket money makers' for children all year round.


A Vegetable Plot

Lastly, if your school or home is lucky enough to have a piece of spare land attached, why not allow the children to have their very own vegetable plot? This allows them to choose the plants they want to grow, plus gives them the fun of harvesting the end results.

Start off small, with maybe a 4 metre x 4 metre plot per pupil, and if they take to it you can always enlarge the plot next year (space allowing). We did this at secondary school, and I loved it, especially when I went home at the end of term with a huge black sack full of vegetables for my family.

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    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 2 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      A runner bean is a long green climbing bean, probably the most commonly eaten one in the UK. Probably easiest if you check them out on Google to see the images so you recognise them.

    • profile image

      Danireed 2 years ago

      What is a "runner bean?"

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 2 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thank you for the compliment Sriramapriva

    • sriramapriya profile image

      sriramapriya 2 years ago from India

      Excellent Articles, am a science teacher trainer. It is very use full article to every students and teachers.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Nova, I am delighted you are finding these tips so useful and that you are inspired enough to now want a garden of your own.

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      Nova 4 years ago

      Thank you Admin for these wonderful tips. :) I want to have my own garden with full of vegetable plants and these posts of yours is helping me a lot. ^_^

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Kate :)

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      kate 5 years ago

      this is soo cool and now i have very big plants

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thank Greenie, I really hope more kids start to enjoy growing as a result of this article :)

    • profile image

      Greenie 5 years ago

      These are some Great ideas to get kids into gardening. I agree strongly that too many kids don't know enough about where there Vegetables come from. Great article!

    • profile image

      Amy Greenberg 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      My name is Amy Greenberg and I am the co-founder of a website called The Grandparents Guide. You can check us out at www.thegrandparentsguide.com. I love some of the gardening ideas that you have posted. I would love to use a few of the ideas/images. We would create a direct link to your website, adding you to our FB page and possibly our newsletter, offering you the opportunity to get some exposure from our viewers.

      It would be fantastic if in return, you could let some of your viewers know about us by highlighting us in some way.

      You can email me at amy@thegrandparentsguide.com

      Please let me know if this sounds interesting to you.

      Thanks,

      Amy Greenberg

      Co Founder

      The Grandparents Guide

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Christine, I am so glad you get to grow things now, there really is nothing quite like it. It is also great that you get your kids involved. I am impressed you found this on Pinterest, they have been around such a short time :)

    • profile image

      Christine 5 years ago

      I went to a magnet science middle school and only the honor roll kids got to plant gardens and do the cool science experiments. I used to stand at the garden gate and stare at them with envy, because I never ever got to grow anything. I lived in the middle of two gangs and nothing pretty ever lasted. I'm a little obsessive of growing things now and I keep looking for ways to get my kids involved.. Thank you for this! I found it on Pinterest, by the way :)

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Lynn, no it should work with any avocado, but it takes quite a long time to germinate so maybe you didn't give it enough time. It might also help to make sure the Avocado is really ripe before you eat it so that you can be sure the seed is mature and ready to grow. See if you can buy some overripe Avocados from your local store or fruit supplier. Don't forget to change the water regularly too so it remains fresh.

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      Lynn 5 years ago

      AAHHH!! Spelling fail! I meant Avocado! Opps!

    • profile image

      Lynn 5 years ago

      Question....I have tried the Alvacado seed thing before and it never sprouted anything. Is there a certain kind I need to use? Because mine was just one that came from the grocery store. Love the rest of your ideas as well :) We will enjoy trying them!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I expect the 'runner bean' method would work okay for castor beans, but doubt you would have much success with the other methods for obvious reasons.

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      Cdobrolecki@hotmail.com 5 years ago

      I grow castor beans every year. Will this process work to get these started?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thank you 'myansweris42', pleased you liked it :)

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      myansweris42 5 years ago

      hello nice hub!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Kidsgardener. Thanks for the great feedback, and sorry I have had to delete your link. I believe I have already allowed it at least once in previous comments on my articles, but technically it is 'Spamming' so on this occasion I have deleted it. I will quote the majority of your comment here though, as in general it is very nice:

      Kidsgardener said:

      "Cindy,

      I have read all three of your fun plant articles, they are wonderful. The Mimosa mentioned above,(more commonly known as the TickleMe Plant in the USA educator's circle, is my favorite plant to have my students and family grow. I have grown this plant with students in elementary school up to graduate school classes. Lessons included topics on what is a living thing, plant movements, how to take care of a pet and basic plant anatomy. Kids of all ages never forget the first time they see their plant close its leaves and branches droop. We have found our kids are more sensitive to all living things and much more excited about gardening and nature."

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL Mary, I think there is a very good chance it is long gone now as the people who bought that house off us made loads of changes to it inside and outside. I am not even sure how easy they are to strike from cuttings as I grew mine from the seed. Of course my other problem is a lack of any land of our own to plant it in now, as the land I use is leased, so if ever we give up the lease we lose the land.

    • mary-lambert profile image

      mary-lambert 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Great story, you owe it to yourself to seek out that tree and get a clipping. (If you are close enough.) : )

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      That's great Mary, thanks.

      We had a full size greenhouse at school, and my teacher had grown a large Castor Oil Tree in it. He gave me some seeds from the tree, and I remember I grew them and planted one in our garden at home. We moved a year or two later, but for all I know it might still be there today, 25 years later.

      I really hope he likes this article, and the ones I wrote as sequels to it :)

    • mary-lambert profile image

      mary-lambert 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      My friend is an Ag teacher with a full green house. I'm going to copy this link to them to give them some ideas. thanks

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Ronnie, no, not a doctor or other professional, just as you assumed, someone with a lust for life and for living based on my own experiences. I also write on things I feel passionate about, or things I feel will benefit or provide information for others :) Really appreciate your compliments. I hope your opinion of me is correct, as I am in no objective position to judge.

    • profile image

      R. J. Lefebvre 6 years ago

      Misty, I like every bit of this hub. It can help people of all classes to thrive, learn together, improve our future with education, etc. However, I don't think Monsanto will be interested. I usually scan hubs, but this one kept my interest. Looking at your hub titles makes me think you are a doctor or another professional; if not by schooling, than by your lust for life and living. Your are an example for all of us to follow.

      Ronnie

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      plantastic 6 years ago

      Thanks Misty - They even have TickleMe Plant Party Favors. They leaves really do move like they are being Tickled when you Tickle them. It even flowers!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi loooool, thanks for your comments. I write under my pen name mistyhorizon2003.

    • profile image

      loooool 6 years ago

      me also i want to say for you what is your

      name

    • profile image

      loooool 6 years ago

      but first i went to say my name is alaa and + i wesh to all the people to come to lebanon and see the nice flowers and the trees

    • profile image

      loooool 6 years ago

      i am in lebanon and next my house i have an a

      nice flowers and trees

    • profile image

      loooool 6 years ago

      dont for get this program becase is very important

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I recall this plant Plantastic, but I think we called it by its proper name 'Mimosa'. A good fun fern-like plant that closed its rows of leaves together when touched. Nice suggestion :)

    • Plantastic profile image

      Plantastic 6 years ago

      Great hub! And now just for the Holidays you can grow a real house plant that Moves and closes its leaves when Tickled.

      The TickleMe Plant can now be grow indoors year round in the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse. I think every child will want to grow this interactive plant

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Samantha :)

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      samantha 6 years ago

      i love your plant ./

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      That is a shame noneofurbeeswax, is there any way you could approach your Headmaster or Headmistress and suggest they approach the owners of those fields to see if they would rent part of them to the school? This could be a great way to help the kids grow vegetables etc, but without the school having to buy land. The owners of the fields may be happy to help educate youngsters in their local community by renting areas of their lands to the local school/schools.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi BuddleiaGirl. This is an interesting question as don't know if she plans to grow the plant indoors or outdoors. Indoors in a cupboard or similar container widens your options due to being warmer, and beans would be a good choice for speed of growth. Other plants that would lean towards light readily would be a tomato plant, a sunflower, or even the very fast crop of cress. Not sure if a climber is the best choice, as the cane might actually make it harder to spot the leaning of the plant, whereas a non-climber will make the leaning more obvious.

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      noneofurbeeswax 6 years ago

      where i am there's plenty of fields but the school doesn't own them =/

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      BuddleiaGirl 6 years ago

      My daughter is doing her science fair project this year on how different wavelengths of light affect the growth of plants, and we need a good quick growing, hardy plant to grow in a container for this. She will direct different colors (wavelengths) of light into a darkened container, and see which light source the plants grow toward. I'm not sure if we want a climber or not, though I'm thinking a sweet pea or bean stalk of some sort, but even a climbing nasturtium is a possibility. Any reccomendations?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Katie, I am sure your teacher will be keen to give at least one or two of these ideas a try. They are good fun and the students are usually fascinated by the growth of the plants/seeds. Let me know how you get on :)

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      katie smith 6 years ago

      wow im going to show my teacher when i go to school tomorrow. This would be a fun experment to do and might help kids understand it more. I am glad people put stuff on the inter net that is actual useful.:]

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are very welcome delphine, I am glad it was so useful to you :)

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      delphine 6 years ago

      thank you so much this will help me to hand it my project in time

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hello tingjushi fu ma ish. Did you enjoy the hub?

    • profile image

      tingjushi fu ma ish 6 years ago

      i just talk a litle bit english hello

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Binitha, I hope you can put them to good use some time :)

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      binitha 6 years ago

      awesome experiments these are very knoledgable

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Go for it Tutti. Frutti.Gal, you will have great fun doing it I am sure. Thanks so much for commenting :)

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      Tutti. Frutti.Gal 6 years ago

      Fab Growing ideas! Im in yr5 (My mum uses this site alot and thought it would be good for me to read this article!)and we are growing a broad bean in a plastic bottle! It is great fun observing it! I am going to try 'Grow and avocado stone' in my spare time!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi infoels1, I have approved your comment on this occasion, but it would have nice if you had asked me before Spamming my hub. anyway, peace, I am sure you won't do it again.

    • infoels1 profile image

      infoels1 6 years ago

      very good comments in your hub .

      http://www.careofplants.com

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are welcome, I hope you can make use of the ideas within this hub article.

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      Mr. D's Teacher Resource Website Matthew De Gasperi 7 years ago

      These would be great experiments for little kids. Thanks for sharing this Hub.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      @ Max ?????????????

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      max 7 years ago

      what the?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Soni, hope you can pass the ideas on to some children or teachers that you know.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wow. These are really great fun activites for children. Really informative and impressive.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, I wish, but at this point in time all I have is my home grown veggies in containers, as in the accommodation we rent we have no private garden apart from the lake we lease. :)

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Yes I hope so too(let us see what life has in store for me now?). I guess that glow on your face is due to the rewarding and relaxing experience you have...LOL

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks CW, I hope you end up with a lovely house and garden too. Gardening is so rewarding and relaxing as you will find out.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Cindy- This is such an interesting hub. And all the pictures are too good. I wish to have a nice house with a good garden one day. Great hub.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks for the tip and the comment Johnny. Shame you didn't get into the crop growing, but perhaps it might not be as much fun on a large scale as it is when you just have a small personal plot.

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      johnny yuma1 8 years ago

      A person can grow a sweet potato in water and have a lovely vine for decoration if you are into that sort of thing. I was raised on a farm but could never get into the farming thing. I had to do it when young, but I just didn't develop a love for it like some people that lived out there did. I did enjoy the working with the cattle but not the crops.

      Johnny Yuma

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Anna, I hope some of the readers try them out on their own children or pupils :)

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 9 years ago from Florida

      A lot of fun activities and great ideas!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      No worries Dottie, if just one more child or adult get's interested in growing because of this hub I will be grateful :)

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      There is so much learning to be done in the garden. I love avocados and I have a seed on my kitchen table right now that has begun to sprout. Thanks for all the wonderful tips you shared.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks pcjunkychick, I agree, if you get children interested in growing they tend to readily eat what they have grown because they are proud of their achievement :)

    • pcjunkychick profile image

      pcjunkychick 9 years ago from OKC

      great hub!

      I have always had a garden and my grown children have told me they eat more veggies then most of the young ppl they know because they were raised that way. I never thought of it that way I just love gardening. I think having this type of education in schools would change the way children look at food and get them excited about it. This is a great Hub and great ideas I love it! Thank you so much for sharing

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Christoph, I am glad they are doing this and proverbally 'planting the seed' in the children's minds is always a good thing as they soon get excited about watching the next plant grow and being able to eat it afterwards. I made my Mum cook one broad bean's worth of beans when I grew my first one, just so I could try the fruits of my efforts :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 9 years ago from St. Louis

      Great Hub: They are doing a huge project in Detroit in the inner city, using city owned lots. It's a large professional farm now, that supplies food to several schools in the area. It's great to get them interested when they're young!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      So true, did you know that a few months ago a survey was done in schools and an alarming percentage of the children didn't even know that chips (fries) come from potatoes?

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      "Especially inner city schools, although they're probably the least likely to get them. :("I agree, this needs to be a priority.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Bob, thanks for commenting. My neighbours kids have just grown a bean at school, and they are now fascinated by my growing of veg in containers. I have already taught them the names of all the veg I am growing, and they are addicted, (the youngest, a girl, is only 4 years old and can now identify most of my veg simply from the foliage).

      Kerryg, thanks for stopping by. I totally agree that all schools should have a garden and teach children about growing food. With the prices of all food including veg rocketing right now, it is not only cheaper, but also healthier to grow our own vegetables. At school we did this, and kept chickens, plus often going on nature walks in woods or on the beach. I guess this helped cement my love of all of these thngs today.

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 9 years ago from USA

      Good ideas! I'm becoming increasingly convinced that all schools should have a garden to help kids learn about nature and growing food. Especially inner city schools, although they're probably the least likely to get them. :(

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      We have done the bean project a number of times and the children loved it, even coming back to tell us about their beans.

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