I think the best way to get kids into nature is to let them feel it with their own hands. Plant a garden, go on nature walks or hikes, dig in the dirt, etc.
So the best way to learn about plants is to dig in and really explore the plants.
Investigating a Plant
We typically try to investigate plants and let them remain living and in the ground. There’s actually quite a bit to learn by getting up close to plants and looking at all the parts.
Plants all have the same basic parts but they can vary wildly in appearance.
Kind of like many mammals. We have the same parts but they can look very different.
It’s important to look at many different plants and explore the similarities and differences.
For this activity, I really wanted to let them get hands on and a bit destructive.
So we decided to investigate weeds.
Weeds are a great choice for this because they’re probably going to get pulled soon anyway, they have all the parts necessary, and you don’t have to feel bad about destroying a living thing.
The downside is that you probably won’t have a beautiful flower…unless you have dandelions growing nearby!
How to Investigate a Plant
I tried to let my kids just take the reins on this. But I did direct them a bit.
We used this Parts of a Plant worksheet to help us identify all of the parts of our weed.
I was actually pleasantly surprised that we had nearly everything.
There was a flower and also a bud. We had leaves, roots, shoots, and a stem.
Dissecting the Plant
I made sure they had investigated everything they wanted to investigate before we dissected the plant.
Then I let them cut the plant into pieces.
As they cut the plant into pieces we matched the pieces to our garden vocabulary cards.
While you’re dissecting your plant, look closely for the little parts that you can’t see unless you are taking a plant apart.
Look for the veins in the leaves.
When you’re done dissecting your plan, try turning into into plant pictures. It could be a collage or a face.