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Plant a Bulb


Flower pots, clay or plastic, one for each child
Acrylic sealant, if pots are clay, available at art or paint stores
Small jars of acrylic paint
Small paintbrushes (watercolor brushes are fine)
Permanent marker
Tulip bulbs, one for each child, plus two extras
Trowels or large spoons
Potting soil
Gardening gloves, optional


1. If you are using clay flowerpots, spray them with the sealant the day before doing this project.
2. In small groups, let the children paint their flowerpots with the acrylic paint. Use the permanent markers to write their names on the pots. Acrylic paint is water-soluble so the brushes can be cleaned with water. Allow the pots to dry overnight.
3. Show the children pictures of flowering bulbs or read them a related book.
4. Give each child a bulb. Show the children where the roots come out of the bulb and out of which end the flower will grow.
5. In small groups, let each child plant his bulb in his flowerpot, using the potting soil and trowels or spoons.
6. Plant the two extra bulbs in separate pots.
7. Let the children water their bulbs and put them in a sunny place in your classroom.
8. Ask the children what the bulbs need to grow. Tell them you are going to do an experiment with one of the bulbs by putting it in a closet to see what will happen. Encourage the children to hypothesize what will happen to the bulb in the closet.
9. Mark on your class calendar the day that you planted the bulbs and each day count how many days it has been since.
10. Ask the children to water their bulbs regularly, once a week is probably fine.
11. When the bulbs begin to sprout, note which bulbs are sprouting. Are they all? Why or why not?
12. Compare the children's bulbs with the bulb in the closet.
13. Once they begin to sprout, graph each day how far the bulbs grow.
14. Just before the bulbs flower, send them home with the children.
Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6
Center: Science/Discovery/Nature
Topic: Plants
Content: Science
Area: Fine Motor
Age: 4 Years Old
Interaction: Individual Child

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