Let’s talk about …..plants, baby. If you just sang that to the tune of a Salt n Pepa song, then you are probably entering the stage or life where you have started to realize that you are interested in plants. You may even have already reached the stage where you have kept a houseplant alive. Jokes aside, parents (of all generations) will do themselves, their children, and the planet a favor by talking and learning about plants.

What are plants? 

Let’s start with the obvious. Really, though, if your child asked you this, would you be able to answer? By definition, plants are living organisms that cover much of the land of planet Earth. Grass, trees, flowers, bushes, ferns, and mosses are all types of plants. Plants are members of the kingdom Plantae.  

What makes a plant a plant?  

Plants share certain characteristics, such as the ones shown on this graphic organizer.  Additionally, some online classes address the topic. 

How do I explain the importance of plants to my kids?

This is not an easy task. Overall, it’s simply important to impart in your children that plants are important for the planet and all living things. It may be too much for small children to understand that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen from their leaves, and that animals and humans need to breathe this oxygen to survive.

It’s probably best to start simple. Kids are almost never too young to develop  environmental awareness, We recommend just trying to give your child an awareness of where their food comes from. Many living things need plants to survive, because plants are their food source.   Planting a garden is a great activity to help children understand that plants benefit all sorts of creatures. Witnessing and participating in the planting, growing, and harvesting cycle is a great learning experience for all ages.

Okay, I’m feeling green...but how do we get started? 

If you’re looking to introduce science projects at home, an activity like introducing plants and seeds is a classic. You remember the bean sprouts in the styrofoam cup, right? 

Another easy way to impress the importance of plants upon children is simply to fill your home with green life. Plants help purify air, which will make your whole family healthier. Have your child help care for the plants. Children love to help, and will become invested in the health of their little green pets. If you plant a garden, let each child pick something to plant and maintain. 

Consider keeping a family nature log and noting which plants you observe on walks, hikes, and travels. 
Overall, it’s hard to find a reason not to make plants a part of your family life. Whether you grow them, eat them, or just like to look at them and talk about them, planting and gardening are a wonderful way to relieve stress.They teach children about the natural world and how to care for other living things. And, knowledge of plants and the ability to grow things are generational skills that can be passed down from one era to the next.