I read a great post at Mama Smiles about botany for young kids. We have an interesting plant growing in our garden in a dirt pile. Interestingly, it gets no water in the summer, and we also completely cut it in the spring when we were replacing siding on the house – still it managed to bounce back and grow even bigger than it was before. I am very weak in botany, so maybe someone can identify this plant for me. I am thinking it is a species of gladiolus, but I am not entirely sure. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to look at its flowers up close. Smarty was pretty excited, since the flowers are taller than she is and therefore relatively safe from “unprompted exploration”, also known as random picking. She immediately observed that the flower is very sensitive and petals separate very easily. Then she ran to get her magnifying glass. After 10 minutes of searching for it throughout the house, we finally found it in her sandbox. Smarty was not interested in looking at all parts of the flower, she was only focusing on petals telling me how she can see the patterns on the petals and how the color changed when she was “squeezing it tight”. It almost looked like this sensitive petal got bruises from her eager fingers. She also explored one of dry flowers and we discussed the difference between “dead petals” and “living petals” and also how water gets into petals. She insisted that we need to take turns looking through a magnifying glass – she really enjoys having my full attention and participation during those mini science lessons. But very soon she was getting other ideas - focusing on the dirt pile and investigating how much dirt can every petal hold. This girl and dirt seems to have natural attraction for each other.
For other science ideas, visit Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.