Grow a Sock Garden

What You Need:

  • Pair of old cotton socks (preferably white)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Spiral bound notebook and pencil
  • Crayons or markers
  • Small flower pot
  • Potting soil
  • Water for watering

What You Do:

  1. Between dandelions, clover, plants, flowers, grass, and weeds, most yards are full of seeds. They're just not always apparent to the naked eye. Allow your child to put on a pair of socks and walk around the backyard to pick up debris. Encourage him to walk through the grass, between plants, and through the flowerbeds (but not on the flowers!) Hopefully, your child's socks will “pick up” lots of neat items.
  2. When he's tired of walking around, help him carefully remove his socks. Use your magnifying glass to take a look at what the socks have collected. Try to guess which seeds you see and ask him to predict what might grow. Write down his answers. Then place the socks in a small flowerpot, add some potting soil, and water lightly.
  3. Over the next days and weeks, spend some time each day looking at the sock garden to see what grows! Give your child a spiral notebook to use as a scientific journal and have him record his observations throughout this project. He can write down short sentences, draw pictures, or record key words like “taller” or “grass”.

This experiment makes a good introduction into the world of hypothesis and predictions, the backbone of later science. Plus, it's a great way to make use of all those mismatched socks!

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