Greenhouse Fun with Zinnia Seeds



Recently I had a cherished visit with my 3 year old grandchild.  We bundled up and headed out the greenhouse.  Skylarr had never been in my greenhouse with me and I think that she loved the warm cozy feeling that is only found in a small glass house.  The contrast between windy and cold outdoors vs. warm and snug indoors was a neat experience.  I gave her a small space of her own on my potting bench, complete with her own bucket of soil, watering can, and shovel.

We got to work and enjoyed the noise of the wind and rain that began to surround us outside. As we were working side by side, I began to think about the benefits that gardening provides to children.  I’m sure that somewhere there’s a list of scientifically proven benefits, so I may miss a few, but the ones that were apparent to me are listed below.

Skylarr’s tiny fingers got a great little workout in the greenhouse. I would definitely say that developing fine motor skills is a benefit. Since we save pollinator flower seeds, it was a nice day to pour out a bucket of deadhead zinnias that we were saving for the spring.  I explained what to look for and how to pick the seeds apart from the flower heads.  She wasn’t picky at first and that was fine by me. She quickly began to rifle through my pile of seeds and added many to her pile of fuzzy dried flower petals and empty seeds. I knew in my heart that the seeds being separated was not nearly as valuable as our time together, so I just tucked her pile into a cup and left them for later.

Gardening is a nice beginning into the world of science for kids.  Rich language bounces out of their mouths as they discover seeds, soil, and water’s role in the life of a plant.  How many education majors are reading this today?  Do you remember Lev Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory?  Vygotsky taught us about the Zone of Proximal Development, where a child’s range of skills is developed through exposure to concepts and then mastered by social interaction. 

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