I teach 3-5 yr Special Needs Pre K students- I have 10 boys in my class.
During our Spring and Plant unit we were talking about how to plant a seed. After doing the typical sprout a lima bean in the cup or bag (we used zippy bags with wet paper towels taped to the window… FABULOUS!) we threw some lima beans in the sensory table that we had filled with dirt. I found some smaller gardening tools at the dollar store and the kids practiced “planting the seeds”. On accident we left the beans in there over spring break, and in our covered sensory table, they sprouted! We are now watching them every day to see their progress and doing daily journal drawings about it. The kids are so protective of their plants, they show any visitors and firmly warn them not to touch!
When we are studying plants, in the sensory table I place dirt with gardening tools, plastic of course. I also include gardening aprons and gloves. I also put dried beans from the grocery store. The large ones are the best. They sprout over night. And if you leave the lid off over the weekend, on Monday the plants are up to 5″ tall. The kids love it.
I made Solar Ovens with my preschool class. We each took a shoe box and lined the inside with foil (shiny side showing). Then we took a kabob skewer and put it through long ways. Put plastic wrap over the top and you have an oven. The most successful things we found to cook were marshmallows and hot dogs. Just set outside on a sunny afternoon. The kids were amazed! Plus, you get a science and snack all in one.
Cut some small branches from apple trees. Put them in water and set on a sunny window sill. They will be forced to leaf out, I even had one bloom one year! You could use forsythia, peaches, pears or any bush or tree that goes dormant during winter. This could be done as early as Feb or as late as April.
Read “The Tiny Seed” to the class, discussing what they think will happen if we plant a seed. Have available several sandwich size zip-lock bags. Fold paper towels so they fit inside and wet them. Place several sunflower seeds in each bag. zip up the bags and use a stick pin to post on the wall in the Science area. After several days the seeds will start growing and the children will be able to observe the growth of the root and also the stems. After they have grown a bit the can be planted in soil. Chart the progress and send home the plants to be transplanted .My class always loves to watch the growth of each seed.