Our boys always want to get involved with our gardening efforts. They do everything from planting seeds, digging, watering, and harvesting. One part of plant care that can be a challenge for kids is proper plant watering. So I did this quick and easy activity with the boys to help them learn how to give plants the right amount of water.
Proper plant watering activity for kids
- A small potted plant or two
- Small child-sized watering can
- Spray / misting water bottle
- 3 bowls
- 1-2 cups of oatmeal (any kind)
- Divide the oatmeal between the three bowls evenly. Tell kids this oatmeal represents the dirt the plants live in.
- Instruct kids that before watering plants, they should do a “touch test” to see if the plant is too wet, too dry, or just right.
- Bowl 1 – Let kids feel the dryness of one bowl. Talk about how this “dusty” feeling is like dirt that is too dry for the plant. Plants with dry dirt should be watered.
- Bowl 2 – Allow kids to use the watering can to pour a good amount of water into the second bowl, until the oatmeal is covered with water. The oatmeal will soak up some water, but also will probably have floating oats on top and be very watery. Talk about how “floating” is a sign that the dirt is too wet and has been over-watered.
- Bowl 3 – Have kids either mist the oatmeal until lightly soaked (or if they have good motor skills, they can try pouring just a little from the watering can). Have them touch the oatmeal and see how it is “sticky” but not “dusty” or “floating.” This is who properly watered dirt will feel.
- Next, move them to the small potted plant, and have them repeat the experiment by touching the soil in the pot and letting you know which oatmeal it feels like. You might even start with one plant watered and one not so they can feel the difference.
- Allow them to water the plants that are too dry. Using the spray or misting bottle gives small children better control over the watering process.
Learning how to care for plants is an important life skill that gives your children years of happiness as they garden and raise plants and food. Check out my guest post on the Melissa & Doug blog to see more tips for teaching kids about plant care.