A Lesson Plan For Teaching Children to Grow Food From Seed
This seed lesson plan covers who, what, when, where, and how for growing food at home.
As a culture, we must pass along to our children those skills which will give them self-supported sustainability. The most basic of skills any society must acquire is the ability to provide food.
We celebrate here in America once per year, at Thanksgiving, that ability to provide for ourselves. The knowledge of how to grow the correct crops for the region was taught to the Pilgrims by Native American Indians.
Parents and grandparents with knowledge, ability, and skills should teach their children and grandchildren the ability to provide for themselves.
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Scroll down for the printable lesson plan.
How to Grow Food lesson plan
My favorite method of teaching is “Teach me, Show me, Watch me” First talk about it, then do a demonstration and finally step back and watch your student demonstrate.
Objective: Students should develop a basic working knowledge of how to properly plant seeds for growing food. We are talking about vegetable gardening at home.
This knowledge will include seed selection, containers for seed starting, how to plant the seeds, and plant nourishment.
Lesson 1,Who and What. Who can grow food and What food do you want to grow
Anyone who really wants to can grow their own food with some basic knowledge and a few tools.
- Dirt or potting soil
- Spade or shovel and a rake if planting in the ground
- Watering can or hose
- Gloves (optional)
Reinforce the fact that you need very few tools to grow your own food.
You will begin by planning what to plant
Begin by discussing what types of food the child likes and will eat. We are talking about vegetable gardening.
If the children respond with answers such as macaroni and cheese then break it down for them by telling them exactly which crops must be grown in order to create macaroni and cheese.
Unless you are a farmer, you are not too likely to plant wheat in your backyard garden so you can make your own noodles. You could also tell the children that the cheese begins with a dairy cow.
After providing insight into why you won’t be growing macaroni and cheese in your backyard garden, get the children to name vegetables they will eat.
Vegetables for a home garden
- Peppers, Hot or sweet
- Green Beans
- Summer Squash
2. Field Trip Shopping for Seeds and Soil
Most children love a field trip! You may purchase seeds at the local Dollar Store, Home Improvement Store, or your local hardware.
When teaching children, you will want them to learn how seeds are sold. For this reason, take them to your local hardware or feed & seed store which allows you to purchase seeds by the ounce or in prepackaging.
We are teaching growing food from seed, however, now is a good time to take them to see the live plants which have been grown in greenhouses also. To avoid confusion, stick with talking about only the plants you are about to grow. It would be fun to show them what their plant will look like once it has grown.
Go ahead and purchase the potting soil you intend to use while shopping for the seeds. I personally prefer Miracle Grow potting soil (this is NOT a sponsored post).
You can discuss the nutrients required in the soil by simply showing them the ingredient list printed on the bag and talking about it. It is very important to take the time to teach the children that the soil type is essential to plant growth and healthy plants.
If you just happen to have fantastic soil in your yard suitable for seed starting, by all means, use that!
3. Seed Starting Containers
You will have previously determined what type of containers you will be planting your seeds into with the children. This is a great opportunity to talk about Repurposing.
In the days and weeks leading up to this lesson on seed planting for food growing, you should have been saving containers and ‘talking up’ this lesson with the children.
Learn how to Repurpose Milk Jugs & 2 Liter Bottles for Winter Seed Sowing here.
Also, learn to make Faux Peat Pots here from newspaper and toilet paper rollers.
Get the children to name other containers which can be repurposed for seed starting.
When teaching my grandchildren to plant seeds we repurposed an aluminum foil box to hold the Faux Peat Pots. It fits perfectly in a window sill for sunlight!
4. Plant the Seeds
Follow the instructions on the seed packaging for planting. This is a great opportunity to show the children how to use a ruler in an ordinary situation such as seed planting. Stress the importance of not planting too shallow or too deep.
5. Seed Nourishment
There are 3 Key factors to plant nourishment.
- Soil. The seeds are nourished by the type of soil they have been planted in.
- Water. They are also nourished by the water which will be essential to growth. Be sure to demonstrate watering with a gentle flow in the beginning so as not to dislodge the seed from the dirt. A water bottle is recommend until the seed has germinated.
- Sunlight. Sunlight is essential for plant growth. Some plants will require more sunlight than others for continued production during the growing season. You may talk about placing your seed container next to a window preferably facing east for many hours of daily sunlight.
6. Watch them grow!
It will be especially fun for your student when they see that tiny little sprout as it first pops out of the ground!
You may like to have your children create a Growth Journal so that they can get a better grasp on the time frame it takes for a seed to become a plant. Have them notate any growth activity every day. They may also enjoy taking photos of the growth process.
- What kind of vegetables do I want to grow?
- How are seeds sold and where do I purchase them?
- What type of soil do I need to plant my seeds in?
- Repurpose containers for seed starting.
- Plant the seeds.
- Nurture the seeds
- Watch them grow
While you are waiting on the seeds to sprout, teach the parts of the plant.
Print the above parts of a plant graphic with and without the answers.
Parts of a plant WITHOUT Answers
Unscramble the garden words printable pdf
Updated 2-22-22 to include printables
Thanks for sharing such a nice blog post! This is such a great lesson for all of us to inject these basic skills in our children.
Great post! I need to start my garden, but it’s been so cold, I can’t get myself worked up for it. Also the bunnies have eaten our beans the last two years which is discouraging. I love how you use your garden for Biblical truth. Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! I’ve pinned this to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest board!
We had our first day in the ’90’s today here in the deep south. I wouldn’t know how to act in a cold climate! Thanks for the Pin!!
You are so thorough in all that you do, Shirley! In fact, I bought some seeds two days ago to teach my toddler how to plant. I guess I am doing it backwards, because I did step 2 before step 1. This is a great tutorial!
You are so obviously a great mother, Zan! You know your child’s ability to learn <3
Perfect guide! Thank you for sharing with the parenting #pinitparty
Hi Shirley. I love this post. It reminds me of planting seeds with my girls when they were young. You are right, this is an important skill that should be passed on. Most children think food comes from the grocery store. Teaching them to grow food opens up a whole new world to them.
This is such a great lesson. It is so important to teach kids this basic life skill. I feel the same way about sewing, canning and many other things. I am pinng this so other can see it and maybe get inspired.
Amanda, thank you for the Pin. You are so right, sewing, canning and some other important lessons also need to be passed down.
We did something smilar when I was young! However, there is no lesson for people who just have a brown thumb LOL (Yours truly!)
The lesson is in getting the seeds planted. I’m confident with time and practice you can turn your thumb green 🙂
What a fun learning activity to do with your children or (in our case) grandchildren! I’m going to pin this because it’s so important to pass these lessons on to the next generation! Great post!
Alli, we did it with our grandchildren. It was such a nice activity too. They enjoyed it and learned something too. I hope they always remember that it was their Grandma and Papa who took up that time with them.
Great tips, love it! Not to long ago every generation new how to provide for their own food. Today we are so disconnected.
Anna, you are so right. These lessons need to be continued through the generations! We must assume that responsibility as parents and grandparents.