A greenhouse protects the plants inside by blocking out some of the more harmful aspects of the environment like harsh winds, heavy rains, or extreme temperature fluctuations. It also traps the warm air inside and keeps the air around the plants moist and humid, making it the best environment for the plants to flourish. In this activity, your child will get to see firsthand how greenhouses work by making his own — with a balloon!
What You Do:
- Help your child place the funnel into the neck of the clear balloon.
- Encourage her to slowly pour the dirt into the balloon, making sure that none of the dirt falls outside of the funnel.
- Have her slowly pour the water into the funnel to moisten the dirt in the balloon.
- Finally, drop a few radish seeds into the moist dirt.
- Carefully remove the funnel from the neck of the balloon and blow into the balloon to inflate it. Don't inflate it to its maximum size, because it may pop!
- Knot the inflated balloon and tie a piece of string around the knot.
- Hang the balloon near a window so the sun will help the seeds sprout.
Helpful Tips: Make sure your child understand what's happening inside the greenhouse. Her balloon greenhouse will protect her radishes as they grow. The balloon will help keep the temperature of the air warm and the humidity in the tied balloon will create water to feed her radishes as they grow!
You can easily turn this into a science experiment by having her keep a journal to track the plant's progress. She can check back at the same time every day and draw a picture of the plant to record how much it's growing. If you want, you can even plant some more radishes in your garden and track their progress as well. How does the plant inside the greenhouse differ from the plant outside of it? Does the greenhouse seem to have any effect on the radish's growth?