Make a Balloon Greenhouse
A greenhouse protects the plants inside by blocking out some of the more harmful aspects of the environment like hard 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 and grow. In this activity, your child will get to see firsthand how greenhouses work by making his own — out of a balloon!
What You Need:
- Clear balloon
- 1⁄2 cup dirt
- Radish seeds
- String or cup
What You Do:
- First, set up your materials outside in case of any spills. Set everything out in bowls to make it easier for your child to pour.
- Now, you're ready to start planting! Wrap the neck of the balloon around the funnel so that anything that gets poured through the funnel will go straight into the balloon. Hold it for your child, and encourage him to add the materials through the funnel himself.
- Have him to carefully pour the dirt in first, making sure that it all pours into the funnel and down into the balloon.
- Next, invite him to add about 1⁄4 cup of water through the funnel. Be sure the soil in the balloon is wet, but not soggy.
- Now it's time to add your seeds! Have him drop the radish seeds through the funnel and into the balloon.
- Check if any dirt got on the outside of the balloon. If so, wipe it carefully with a washcloth.
- While holding it gently by the neck, carefully blow air downward into the balloon. Hold the balloon carefully to keep it from tipping.
- Tie a knot in the neck to keep the air in the balloon, then tie a ribbon around the knot.
- Your little greenhouse is all done! You just need to find a good place to put it. You can tie your mini-greenhouse to a hook near a window or, if you don't have a good place to hang it, you can put the balloon in a cup with the neck at the top.
- Now all you need to do is sit back and watch the radishes grow! Explain to your child how the balloon is acting like a greenhouse for the little radish seeds. It will protect it from harsh environmental factors and make sure it has the best opportunity to grow.
You can easily turn this into a science experiment by having him keep a journal to track the plant's progress. He 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 it? Does the greenhouse seem to have any effect on the radish's growth?