Celebrating Spring

Now that we are twelve days into “meteorological spring,” my thoughts have turned to driving with the windows open, shedding the down puffer coat and faux-fur-lined boots, and breathing in that glorious smell of spring that always fills the air right around this time of year (well, or at least by May or June, here in Minne-snow-ta).

17825 That’s right—it’s time to celebrate spring. And our Experiment with Parts of a Plant book (cover pictured) from the Lightning Bolt Books Plant Experiments series offers a fantastic idea for doing just that. This activity is especially fun if you have young children to share it with. It will teach them what the purpose of a plant’s stem is (namely, taking in water for the plant, to help keep it alive).
Here’s what you do:

· Collect two clear jars, red and blue food coloring, a spoon, two white carnations with long stems, and a scissors.

· Fill the jars a little more than halfway with water.

· Add 30 drops of red food coloring to one jar and 30 drops of blue food coloring to the other. Stir well.

· Trim the bottom of each carnation stem with the scissors.

· Put one stem in each jar and wait a few hours.

· Examine the carnations. Viola! Just like magic, you now have one pretty bright red carnation and one lovely cool blue carnation!

Kids can keep the carnations for themselves or give them to a friend or loved one to help him or her usher in the season. And if they want to, they can repeat the experiment with different colors. This activity is sure to keep little hands busy, and it’s especially great for those still-chilly or rainy early days of spring. (You can remind kids that April showers bring May flowers!)

The entire Lightning Bolt Books Plant Experiments series includes fun experiments like this one to teach all about different aspects of green, growing things. And you don’t have to take my word for what a great series this is—take it from Booklist, which said:

Everything a plant needs to grow—light, fertilizer, water, and air—is covered…. Each of the four experiments starts with basic information about what a plant needs before heading into materials and clearly written instructions…. Full-color photographs demonstrate exactly what a budding young scientist needs to do to carry out the experiment and depict close-ups of plants, seeds, and roots.

I hope you love this series as much as I (and Booklist) do! Happy Experimenting, and Happy Spring!