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Summer Camp Recap: My First Garden
Jun 26

Summer Camp Recap: My First Garden

By Erica Jackson, Intern, Phipps Science Education and Research

Summer Camp Recap - is our weekly seasonal segment featuring our summer camp programs. This is the place for camp parents to find pictures of their campers in action and see all the fun things we did all week. It’s also a great place for educators to pick up craft, story and lesson ideas for their own early childhood programs!

My First Garden

For our second week of camp, we explored the wonderful world of gardening. Campers got to take an up close look at several of the exciting plants that Phipps has to offer, but the excitement did not stop there! Campers tested out their own green thumbs and got creative with the different ways we can use plants.

Day 1: On Monday, we kicked off the week by making plant friends out of grass seed and knee highs. Campers got a glimpse of the wide array of shapes and colors that plants can be and explored everything from the cocoa tree to the burro’s tail succulent. Then we ventured into the conservatory to look at some beautiful orchids, ferns, and of course, butterflies!

Day 2: Next, we focused on the beginning stage of a plant’s life- the seed! Campers learned about the different shapes, sizes, and colors that seeds come in and even used seeds to make drums. Everyone was a star in our seed play, where we learned about all things a seed needs to grow into a healthy plant, and we ended the day by exploring the Discovery Garden.

Day 3: Wednesday was all about plants that we eat. Campers used different vegetables as stamps to create colorful pieces of art before planting lettuce. We toured Phipps’s edible garden to take a peek at all of the interesting food currently growing and did some grocery shopping to end the day!

Day 4: Our final day of camp focused on the critters that live in our gardens. Everyone got a chance to observe and hold some of the Red Wiggler worms that live in the vermicomposting bin. Next, we made bird feeders to help attract birds and planted dwarf sunflowers to welcome bees and other important pollinators to our own backyards.

For more pictures from this week's camp, please visit the Science Education and Research Facebook page here!

If you would like to read and learn with your own Little Sprout, here are some books suggestions from the week:

Inch by Inch-The Garden Song by David Mallett

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston & Sylvia Long

Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Pattern Bugs by Trudy Harris

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Up Down and Around by Katherine Ayres

What’s This? By Caroline Mockford

Is your Little Sprout a budding scientist? Try this seed dissection activity with them at home!

What is a seed? Every seed has three parts: a coat, a baby plant, and stored food. Dissecting a lima bean is a quick and easy experiment your Little Sprout can conduct right at home and is a great way to view these seeds and identify their different parts. And, to prepare this activity, all you need to do is soak a few lima beans in water overnight!

Scientists ask questions and make guesses about the answers all the time. This is called a “hypothesis”. Ask your seed scientist to guess what might be inside a seed? To find the answer you and your little sprout can do an “experiment” and open up the seed to see what's inside!

Take the seed apart to find its three “body parts:"

1. Seed Coat: Protects the seed (outermost layer of the seed).
2. Baby Plant or Embryo: Grows into the large plant (the smallest part of the seed, sandwiched between the cotyledon).
3. Stored Food or Cotyledon (Cot-a-lee-don): The baby plant's food until it can make food from sunlight (the largest part of the seed).

Photographs taken by Phipps Science Education staff.