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Proper Plant Watering Learning Activity for Kids

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.

plant watering activity

Proper plant watering activity for kids

plant watering activity


  • 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.

plant watering activity

  • 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.

plant watering activity

  • 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.

plant watering activityplant watering activity

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.

plant watering activity



Thursday 19th of August 2021

Ohh interesting! This is the first time i heard about using oatmeals for this kind of experiment. Will try doing this on my science class experiment - im sure my kids will learn better on how to take proper care of their plants


Tuesday 8th of May 2018

Thanks for sharing Julie! I also have two (very active) preschooler boys and am currently challenged with teaching them to share. Especially with each other. I think letting them experience caring for things in nature is a way for helping towards achieving this. I was also considering getting a pet , but daddy was against that idea. So plants it is! :))

Julie Fraysier

Saturday 22nd of April 2017

great idea for a watering lesson. I've been too afraid to let the kids help with my seedlings. but I know they will love being able to water themy with a spray bottle.

Julie Kieras

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

Thanks, Julie! We definitely have sections of our gardens that the boys are allowed to water, and some that are "delicate" and for mommy only to water lol ;)

Trisha W.

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Totally off topic, but I can't believe how quickly your boys are growing. Both of their faces are getting so mature looking.