Creating sponge gardens

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Updated: 8/12/2003 12:11 am
An educational and enjoyable craft for children of all ages is making sponge gardens. The project can help children learn about germination and that seeds need certain conditions in order to grow, such as moisture, warmth, and sunlight. To make a sponge garden, you’ll need a natural sponge, some radish or mustard seeds, a glass, water, wire clothes hangers, string, an indoor clothesline to hang sponges, drawing paper, posterboard, and crayons or markers. First, put seeds in a cup of water and soak them overnight in a warm room. The next day, thoroughly soak sponges in a bucket or sink of water. Let the excess water drip off, but keep the sponge saturated. Loop a piece of string around the sponge and tie the sponges on a clothesline or onto a hanger that can hang on a coat rack or ledge. Make sure you hang the sponges near sunlight, but not in direct sunlight so the sponges won’t dry out. Drain the water out of the cups of seeds. Pick out the seeds and put them into the holes of the sponge. Now you have a complete sponge garden. During the next three to five days, observe what happens. The seeds should start to germinate. Roots will start growing downward, and little stems and leaves should appear and reach toward the sunlight. Keep watering the plants when the soil feels dry. Have the children record the plants’ daily growth by making a growth chart with the posterboard and crayons or markers. Once the plants are sprouted and growing, plant them in soil so they can manufacture their own food.

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