Welcome to Discovery Time, a video series designed for families with young children (2+ years) as a way of introducing kids to nature. Each video has a project and a suggested book list.
Grow your very own wildflowers!
Ages: 2-5 years
Time Required: 10-20 minutes
- Cardboard egg carton or any container with holes poked in the bottom
- Wildflower seeds
Step 1: Find a cardboard egg carton or other cup with a hole at the bottom.
Step 2: Fill the carton with soil, any sandy soil will work.
Step 3: Add a little water and let it soak in.
Step 4: Poke a little hole in each cup and place a seed.
Step 5: Top off the soil and give it a little pat, gently.
Step 6: Leave in a sunny spot, and water daily.
Step 7: With a little luck, you’ll have your own wildflowers.
What’s Going On?
Flowers are more than a nice thing to look at. Flowers are how many new plants are formed. If a flower is visited by a pollinator like a bee or a butterfly, the flower will produce a fruit with seeds. Like flowers, seeds come in all different shapes and sizes, and colors. Many native wildflowers can grow in almost any sunny, sandy spot and they are great for pollinators like bees and many other beneficial insects. Wildflowers can also improve soil health, prevent erosion and improve water quality, and many other benefits to our agriculture.
Studies have shown that native wildflowers are more attractive to pollinators than non-native wildflowers. They also require less care to grow and are more tolerant since they are accustomed to the climate and pollinators that are present. This means that when it comes time to find your wildflower seeds, choose wisely and select a native species (a species that occurs naturally in a location and that was not brought in by humans). Also remember that wildflowers are plants, and even though they can adapt to a variety of environments. They will need five things to grow: water, light, air, soil and space to grow; so, make sure that you are giving your wildflowers enough of these five things, while being mindful that some plants prefer certain amounts of light; and do be careful not to over water them as well.
Once you see your plant sprouting try to estimate how much it grows every week. You can do that by measuring the plant on a weekly basis, but make sure to try to provide a constant amount of water the whole time. If you have more than one plant, you can try to give the other ones a different amount of water to see how it affects their growth, just make sure to also have them close to each other so that they receive the same amount of sunlight
- Flit, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken
- Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer & Adam Schaefer
- Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
Have Fun, Stay Safe
Adventuring outside with children is more about exploring what you find, not the destination!
- Have fun and be flexible.
- Give the kids some control, but keep them close.
- Bring snacks and plenty of fluids.
- Dress yourself and your children in layers and wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, pants and a hat to protect your skin from sunburn and insect bites.
- Pick a short, interesting hike and allow a lot of time.
- Safety first! Check your surroundings and watch where you step. Be extra cautious around water.
- Be prepared with first aid.
- Plan for weather!
- Teach, sing and play games with your kids.
- Review with the kids – each hike – what to do if they should become separated from you.
Ethics of Collecting
- Respect all living things including all plants and animals.
- Return all living creatures back to where you found them.
- Collect carefully!
- Respect others property, watch for posted signs and private property.
- Take a close look at nature, but best practice is to return natural items where they were found.