Complete mini garden kit with seeds, peat pellets, planters and instruction booklet. Text by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Robert Shadbolt. Chronicle books, 2009. Review copy. This is the perfect time of year to start a gardening project with kids. Everything sprouts with joy in the spring! My boys and I had so much fun trying out this gardening kit called Sprout Your Own Leafy Wonders (click that link to read a sample of the instruction book and learn about the lamb's ear plant included in the kit). The kit includes seeds for the sensitive plant, whose leaves curl up and play dead when touched, the lamb's ear plant, whose leaves are super soft and fuzzy, and the polka dot plant, whose leaves look splashed with paint.
The booklet has easy to understand directions and descriptive text that tells about each plant. Step by step you will prepare your pots, seeds and growing location and then sit back to enjoy the magic. All the necessary growing conditions are explained and gardeners are encouraged to take notes on the journal pages in the back of the book. It's a science project that is easy and fun for everyone. The book is illustrated with simple, instructive drawings showing the insides of plants and seeds, as well as photographs of the project and the growing plants. Kids from 3 to 10 will have lots of fun while learning some of the mysteries of the plant world.
This is how it worked for me and my two sons, age 4 and 6. We prepared the included peat pellets by soaking them in water for 15 minutes. My little guys were fascinated to watch the flat peat pellets slowly expand as they absorbed the water and grew into fist-sized balls. Then we put the peat into the cute little brightly colored plastic pots, which we had decorated with the included face stickers. The boys sprinkled the seeds over the peat and covered them up snugly. They watched eagerly every day for sprouts and sure enough after about five days we saw our first shoots pushing up. It has been so exciting every day to watch the progress of our little sprouts! We look forward to transplanting our new plants into pots or out in the garden. This is such a fun project for kids and parents.
We also tried Chronicle's Sprout Your Own Sweet Scents mini garden kit. This kit includes seeds for Spearmint, Cinnamon Basil, and Lemon Balm. I am so excited about these addition to our herb garden. The boys are thrilled to be able to grow such fragrant plants that they can actually add to salads or cold drinks.
These kits are easy to use, include everything you need to really start your indoor garden, and are very rewarding an activity for kids and families. I think they would make a great birthday party present or addition to your Easter Baskets. A real hands-on project that teaches kids some of the wonders of nature.
There is a nonfiction roundup of children's books over at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub today so go take a peek!