Earth Day Activities for Kids: Upcycle Parts of Plants, Seeds and Photosynthesis

Earth Day is a groovy day for kids to learn about nature. Did you know that there are more than 350,000 different types of plants on Earth? Learn all about plants with these Free Earth Day Activities.

Start of by taking a few minutes and describe some types of plants that you already know. Take a look outside and find out the names of plants you see.  If you don’t know the name of a plant try searching on the internet or asking a groovy grown-up to learn more about the plants you see.  How many plants did you discover? 

Plants include cactuses, flowers, trees, and much, much more. Plants are living things that need water, light, nutrients, and air to grow and survive. Like other living things plants can move. Plants don’t have feet and walk around like you do, but in order to grow, plants will move towards light. In addition to being able to move, plants can make their own food. The first stage of the life cycle of plants is called germination which is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed.

Plant Parts for Kids

WORD BANK

Seeds: carry the beginning of plants inside them. They have a seed coat which protects the inside of the seed.

Roots: grow underground and help hold the plant in the soil. Roots also take in water and minerals from the soil to help the plant grow.

Stem: supports the plant and has many thin tubes which take water and nutrients to other parts of the plant.

Leaves: take in sunlight and air to make food for the plant.

Flowers: helps the plant make seeds and sometimes fruit (YUMMY!)

Seed Parts

Illustration of a cross section of a seed labelled with its parts.

Seed Coat: the protective outer part of a seed.

Embryo: inside part of the seed that contains the beginning of leaves, the stem, and one or more cotyledons (part of the embryo which normally becomes the first leaves of a seedling).

Endosperm: tissue inside the seed that surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition for the seed.


Life Cycle of a Plant

Illustration showing the 5 stages of the life cycle of a plant.


Investigate: Piece Together Parts of a Plant

Materials:

  • Parts of a Plant Printout
  • Colored Paper for Background
  • Glue Stick
  • Crayons/ Markers/ Colored Pencils
  • Scissors

Procedure:

1.  Print out the Parts of a Plant on a white sheet of paper.

2. Color the parts of the plant with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Make it groovy and colorful!  

3. Using scissors, cut out the parts of the plant from the white paper.

4. Draw a ground line on the background paper, then glue on the parts of the plant.

5. Label the parts of a plant.


Upcycle: Plant in a Box Maze

Free Earth Day Actvitiy:  A Shoe Box Maze.  Illustration shows a box turned into a maze with a plant growing through it.

Materials:

  • A Groovy Box or similar style box.
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Small Potted Plant (we recommend a Bean Plant)

Procedure: 

1. Cut a large hole at one side of the box.

2. Using some extra cardboard, cut two pieces in the following sizes.

  • First make both pieces HALF of the WIDTH of the box.
  • Then make both pieces the SAME HEIGHT of the box.

3. Divide the length of the box into thirds and tape one piece of cut cardboard onto the left side of the box at the one-third mark.

4. Tape the other cardboard piece onto the right side of the box at the two-thirds mark. (see the image above.)

5. Place a well watered potted plant inside the box.

6. Close the box and secure using tape then place the box beside a sunny window.

In about 5 days open the box.  Describe what you observe.  Did your groovy plant grow in the direction of the light coming from the hole? If so, this demonstrates that plants will and can move toward the light which they need to survive.


Investigate: Photosynthesis

The word photosynthesis is made up of PHOTO meaning ‘’light’’ and SYNTHESIS meaning ‘’to put together.’’ When you put these two parts together photosynthesis means to put together with light. 

Plants are considered autotrophs which means they are organisms (living things) capable of making their own food.

Chlorophyll which are green pigments (material that changes to the color of reflected light) in the leaves of the plant absorb the sunlight and convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars called glucose (the plant’s food) and oxygen. If the plant uses the sugar it makes during photosynthesis as its food, then what happens to the oxygen it also makes? STEMists, like yourself, use this oxygen to BREATHE!

Nitrogen and Oxygen are the most common gases in the atmosphere and if it wasn’t for plants producing oxygen through photosynthesis we wouldn’t have the oxygen we need to breath! So make sure to thank your plants next time you’re outside! (It’s a Groovy thing to do.) Don’t worry, you also help plants. Take a deep breath in and then hold it. (You just breathed in oxygen.) Now exhale! Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is what you are breathing out which plants need to make their food! 

A graphic showing a plant and photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis Equation

Reactants = Everything on the LEFT of the equation is what a plant needs for the reaction (photosynthesis is the reaction) to occur. Imagine you are baking cookies, the reactants would be the ingredients you need to make the cookies. What are the reactants of photosynthesis? Say it out loud!

Products = Everything on the RIGHT side of the equation that are produced or made once the reaction has finished.  Example:  Baked cookies coming out of the oven and are ready to eat are products of a reaction!  YUMMY!  What are the products of photosynthesis? Say it out loud!

Photosynthesis Activity for Kids

Materials:

  • Plant
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sunlight

Procedure:

1. Buy a plant for Earth Day or use a plant that you may already have at your house or school.

2. Cover the leaf of the plant completely with the aluminum foil.

3. Remove the foil about 3-5 days later.

Academic Coaching: The leaf will turn yellow instead of staying green because the plant can’t do photosynthesis. The chlorophyll which gives the leaf its normal green color can’t work properly since there is a lack of sunlight which shows just how important the sun is for photosynthesis and for the plant to make its own food!


Upcycle a Box

Free Earth Day Activities:  Illustration of a box being upcycled into a planter pot.

Use your Groovy Lab in a Box or a similar style box as a planter pot for Earth Day. Your Groovy Lab in a Box is 100% recyclable and the cool retro icons are printed with water based paint (non-toxic.) OR you can use a plain box or a shipping box with all the labels and tape pulled off. Line the box with parchment paper to prevent moisture seeping through the cardboard. Place your groovy box on a plastic bag or tray.

Fill your box with some potting soil from a local gardening store.

**If you have seeds remaining from your “Greenhouses” Groovy Lab in a Box you may plant those or transplant seedlings from your yard or groovy greenhouse.


Upcycle: Earth Day Plant Pot Activity for Kids

An illustration of a plant pot folded out of newsprint.

Click here to download the PDF.

Materials:

  • Two-page spread of broadsheet newspaper or newsprint paper.

Procedure:

1. Print out the groovy instructions above.

2. Make one or more groovy pots!

3. Once your plant has grown 2-3″ you can plant the whole pot into the ground.

Now you are a groovy BOTANIST. A BOTANIST is a plant expert!

For more challenging play try a monthly-themed Groovy Lab in a Box.  There is no better way to educate your STEMists than to keep their minds screen-free, design learning to create and solve, through the engineering design process and STEM-related activities. Furthermore, our monthly box activates thinking, questioning, inquiring and original creation as we guide children through scientific inquiry and engineering design process.

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