The aim of this session is for children to:
- know that some of our food comes from plants, but we cannot eat all plants;
- understand what a plant needs in order to grow well;
- Know how to care for, and be involved in caring for a plant/s.
You will need:
- A herb plant, e.g. basil, coriander, mint
- How to grow chives sheet (Alternatively, you could buy seeds and follow the instructions on the packet, e.g. cress, mung beans, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries.)
- Equipment for growing plants (See the How to grow chives sheet or the packet instructions if you are growing another plant.)
-Plant watering sheet
Listen and respond
Show the children a herb plant, e.g. basil, coriander or mint, and question them:
- What is this? (A plant.)
- Where did this plant come from? (It grew from a seed.)
- What does a plant need so it can grow well? (Light, water.)
- What would we have to do if we wanted to grow a plant? (Get a plant pot, compost, seeds... )
- How could we care for it? (Give it water, keep it in a sunny place.)
Explain that some plants can be eaten and some plants cannot be eaten. Explain that this is a herb plant and its leaves can be eaten. They need to be taken off the plant and washed, then they can be added to different meals to make them tasty. Tear off a few leaves and pass them around for the children to smell. Ask them to describe what it is like. Explain you will be growing some plants that can be eaten. Re-emphasise that not all plants can be eaten and we must not eat plants unless an adult tells us it is OK.
Have a go
Work with the children in groups of four, and plant some seeds. Follow the instructions on the How to grow chives sheet. Talk to the children at each stage about what you and they are doing. Help instil a caring attitude in the children by encouraging them to plant the seeds slowly and carefully. Talk about watering and demonstrate how to do it with care. Set up a care rota to show who will water the plants. You can use the Plant watering sheet to keep a record.
When you have grown your plant, prepare a dish which gives the children an opportunity to use the plant as an ingredient. You could add chives or cress to the following pre-school recipes on the Food - a fact of life website: Terrific tuna tarts, Sensational seasonal salad, Bagel brushetta, Royal rice.