Saturday 23 April 2011


Montessori Activity: Growing Sunflowers/Dyrke Solsikker/种植向日葵

Age: From 2.5 years old.

Activity Duration: 30 minutes

Preparation Time: Including buying seeds, pot and compost - half a day.

1. To refine the child’s sense of smell.
2. To increase the child’s understanding and vocabulary of different smells.

1. Giant sunflower seeds (you can get the giant species from the nursery, but you can also get it 3 packets for 10 DKK at Tiger)
2. Picture of a grown sunflower
3. 1 big pot with saucer
4. 1 potting compost for each pot
5. 1 pitcher of water
6. 1 tray

1. Put the pot, seeds, compost and pitcher of water on the tray.

2. Tell your child that he is going to plant some sunflower seeds. Show him the seeds and then show him a picture of a sunflower. Tell him that when fully grown, the sunflower might be taller than mommy or daddy.

3. Ask your child to fill the pot with about 1 in (2.5 cm) of compost and then tell him to put a seed in the pot. Then ask him to put in the rest of the compost up to 1 1/2 in (4 cm) from the top and to water the pot.

4. Find a sunny spot for the pots and ask your child to check the soil daily to see if it needs any water. As the sunflowers grow, you will need to support them with a stick.

5. As the sunflower plant grows, measure the height using the height of your child. Take a picture of your child at various stage of the growth.

Additional Information:
It's spring time in Denmark, and I can't wait to try this activity with J!!! Although at 2 years and almost 2 months old, I think he is a little too young to probably understand everything. But we can repeat it again next year. I am really tired now, but so excited about all these activities, that I wonder whether J is the child or I am the child!!!

Here is a brilliant idea from the book "Teach Me To Do It Myself" by Maja Pitamic to grow sunflowers as an excellent way for introducing measuring. I can't agree more with Pitamic that few flowers have such a "wow" factor than the sunflower for the child - and even adult, if I should add. It starts as a tiny seed and grows to a tall height, all in the space of one season. Check which variety of sunflower you buy and if possible, go for the tallest.

Instead of a ruler, your child can use his hands, with the heel of the palm to the fingertips. When the sunflowers are taller than your child, record this with a photograph. And as they continue to grow, take more photographs of other family members, so that your child has a visual comparison.

This is a fantastic book providing hands-on guide on Montessori activities that is practical, simple and easy to follow. The book also provides lots of ideas on using simple equipment that you can find at home. I found this idea in this book:

Teach me to do it myself by Maja Pitamic

5.6.2011 - The Sunflower plant is now reaching the ear-height of J
6.6.2011 - The sunflower plant is now reaching the head of J
27.7.2011 (2Y4M22D) - Our sunflower plant is now taller than Florian, J and I!!!

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