Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.
How excited was I this week when the big explorer came home with a sweet potato he’d been given at school with an assignment: eat it or plant it. He opted to plant it.
But not in the ground. In a jar – so he could watch the sweet potato grow into a plant.
A quick Google search later and I had the instructions we needed to make it happen. It’s simple enough, actually. You only need three things: A clear jar or glass, a sweet potato and a few toothpicks.
The big explorer took it from here. He inserted the toothpicks into the side of the sweet potato, forming a circle around the middle of the potato. Then he put it in the glass container. We added enough water so that the bottom half of the potato was almost completely covered.
This project is great for kids because that’s all it takes to get started. Provided your child continues to keep enough water in the jar, the plant will continue to grow. In a few weeks, roots will begin to appear. Then watch for green leaves to start sprouting from the potato. The leaves should look like a vine.
You can plant the sweet potato plant when the leaves and roots have grown quite a bit – or you might opt to continue watching it grow in a jar.
The big explorer anxiously checks the progress of our plant daily. I’m excited to see how the project continues in the weeks ahead. We might just have a plant ready to pot come spring!
- Track your progress. Encourage your child to record the plant’s progress from one day to the next. Include drawings to note small changes.
- Plant your prize. I’m hoping we see some success with our little science project, so we’ll have something to plant in soil come spring.
More Ideas for Winter Outdoor Fun
Have you made any plans for outdoor fun this weekend? If not, there’s no time like the present! Here are a few simple ways you can explore nature without leaving home:
- Build a snow tunnel.
- Create a backyard tree wildlife feeder.
- Make ice hearts.
- Go on a winter nature scavenger hunt.
- Or try one of these 30 Ideas for Winter Backyard Nature Fun.
And if you live in the Los Angeles area, consider taking a faery tour of the camellia collection at Descanso Gardens. You’ll learn flower facts, hear faery stories of enchantment and frolic, and enjoy a few surprises along the way. Sat., Feb. 5, 9:30 a.m. to noon. Free with admission; first come, first served.