Planting for mother’s day

In an effort to try and grow a plant as part of our mother’s day tea party coming in May, the children have each planted a flower seed in our gardening center…

The children started by decorating their flower pots with foam stickers…

Our flower pots are actually lids saved from laundry or spray starch cans. I washed all the lids in the washing machine then set them out for the children to use…

The children filled up their flower pots (lids) with dirt then they each added a couple of marigold seeds into the dirt…

And then the children used a spray bottle to water their seeds…

I have no idea if our flowers will grow since I do not have a green thumb but it will be fun to see what happens over the next month…

Each new day at preschool, the children stop by and water the seeds some more…

And of course, they look to see if there are any signs of growth. By the third day after planting, the children were able to see a few sprouts shooting up….

I am quite certain that one of the sprouts shooting up is actually a bean plant because it is quite larger than all the other plants in the flower pots…

Perhaps our flowers will grow and bloom and perhaps they won’t quite work out as we hope but in any case, the children are deeply interested in the plant growth process. There is always someone looking all the plants over and adding just one more drink of water in case the plants need a little more…

We have been on spring break this week, so it has been my job to take care of the plants – so much pressure! I keep forgetting to give them water so hopefully they will survive until the children get back.  If not, we will just start all over again – this is one reason we started a little early…

Have you planted flower seeds before in a small pot like this? If so, I would love to hear what type of seeds worked well for you…

A few photos of our outdoor gardening center are below…


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By |2012-04-07T07:00:22+00:00April 7th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Lakisha Reid April 7, 2012 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Our brains must be in the same place, I did the same activity with my class yesterday, stickers and all, except I didn’t have cool colored cups 🙁 We planed wild flowers..

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

      You will have to let me know if your wild flowers actually grow Lakisha! I like how we have the same ideas:)

  2. heather at wordplayhouse® April 7, 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    I LOVE that you chose to recycle laundry cups to use as little seedling pots. You are teaching the children to give, to make, to grow, and to be eco-friendly too. As a mother, I know I would be smiling to receive this. Perfect.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

      I always save my laundry lids. They make great cups for water play too!

  3. Jill April 7, 2012 at 8:28 am - Reply

    my kid came home from her ‘club’ (weekly thing) with a little tin full of grass and a few chocolate eggs stuck inside. I’m still watering the thing. no idea what to do with it, but it seemed like it worked well. think a disposable pound cake tin you can hold in your hand (even smaller than a mini bread/cake) pan, kind of rectangular shaped I guess. pretty cool.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Haha – well at least you have a plant that really grows!

  4. Jill April 7, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    the year before for mothers day, she did a laundry cap (like tide I guess), but with foam and some faux flowers stuck in, the cup decorated with stickers. I still have it on my window sill — it gets plenty of light but never needs watering!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      This would be a good alternative for the last minute too! Especially if we need a flower for our tables and ours don”t work out!

  5. Karen April 7, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Last year I saved yogurt cups for my class to plant seeds in. This year I have not been so on-the-ball… we did plant seeds but they all died or are mostly dead. After reading this, I’m determined we are going to just do it again! Your right, there is still time. This year I do not have windows in my classroom, so I am going figure out a better set up if I can.
    I look forward to your posts and they always inspire me!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Haha – you sound a lot like me Karen! Never give up!!

  6. [email protected] April 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    I agree with the previous sentiments – love the idea to use recycled laundry detergent caps. With 5 kids I go through loads of laundry detergent caps.

    I think kids of all ages can benefit from this activity. Not sure why we only do it with the younger ones. There is a real sense of accomplishment in seeing something that you grew from seed. Even the sprouts are exciting. Myself included, I do not have a green thumb at all!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Wow – with 5 kids you should have no problem building a nice collection of laundry lids for sure! I agree – the interest in plants and gardening doesn’t need to stop once children move on from preschool – it is fascinating at any age…

  7. Aly K April 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Did you punch holes at the bottom or add gravel for drainage? I’ve always been told to do that in the past so that the roots don’t get too saturated. I’m not sure if it makes a difference on such a small scale, but it’s definitely something to consider for next time! I love the idea of using the detergent caps as planters, though! I might have to take up a collection now!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      There is a little hole in the bottom of the green lids already but not in the other color of lids. So it may be that my plants will not get the drainage they need! I will have to watch for that:)

  8. Vicki Blacken April 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    These should be great by Mother’s Day. We always plant Nasturium seeds in cut off milk cartons, to also teach the idea of recycling. They are sturdy enough that the moms can carefully tear away the milk carton and replant them outdoors for summer blooming. The other nice thing about using milk cartons is that you can poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, since my preschoolers always tend to overwater, even when we talk about putting on just a little. Growing things with little ones in the spring is such a wondrous activity! Try growing a potato that’s starting to sprout. If you put it into a large clear jar and make sure it’s near the side, the kids can watch the roots growing as well as the sprout!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      I love the idea of using milk cartons to recycle and the idea of growing potatoes – both are new to me.

  9. Amber April 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I’ve tried several seeds over the year but you know…the no fail, besides bean, is just grass seed. Not quite as pretty, for sure. But we turn them into little cup people and then they can take them home and give them “haircuts” periodically. Usually end up doing it as a spring/summer project and not for Mother’s Day. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      I do want to plant grass seed too and let the children give “hair cuts” – they would love, love that!

  10. Trisha Cooper April 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    I always have the kids plant Marigolds for Mothers Day. They are pretty hardy and most people like them. I’ve never had a problem with them:)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Good news to hear Trisha! I am hoping our Marigolds work out well!

  11. Tami O'Keefe April 8, 2012 at 12:38 am - Reply

    I had my students plant seeds in March both flower seeds and vegetable seeds. The flower seeds will be for Mother’s Day. To help your plants grow put the container in a plastic bag and watch it grow, do not open it up until the seeds have sprouted.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 8, 2012 at 2:10 am - Reply

      Thank you for that tip Tami – I think we will try some in bags and some out of bags and compare the results!

  12. Jill R. April 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    We plant grass seeds in a container decorated to look like a face complete with google eyes. Grass seed (or better yet, wheat grass seed) grows very quickly and you don’t have to worry about one seed dying because you use many seeds. When they get tall enough to “lean” (after about 2 weeks) the kids can give their grass a “haircut” or decorate their “hair” by putting bows around a little sprig to make a “ponytail.” It’s too cute!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you Jill – this is such a fun idea! I have added grass seed to my shopping list – and plastic cups:)

  13. Nancy April 10, 2012 at 8:40 am - Reply

    We plant marigold seeds in little peat pots that start out as pellets. You add water and they grow. My kids love to watch the peat pots expand. We got our peat pellets and a planter to put them in at Home Depot but I know they sell them at Lowes and Menards, too. The planter has a clear plastic lid that holds in the moisture and allows the children to watch the plants grow. It helps to get the plants through the week-end when they don’t get watered. When the plants get well established we just plant the whole thing–peat pot and all–into a larger pot that the children have decorated. I’ve tried several kinds of flowers, but marigolds seem to have the best germination rate and are fairly fool-proof if you have good drainage for the pot.

  14. Nancy April 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Just a postscript to the suggestion about the handy-dandy planter with the clear plastic lid. Don’t put the tender baby plants out in the hot midday sun with the plastic lid on the planter. We now have 12 wilted, steamed plants that appear to be dead. Another unplanned lesson about the fact that too much of a good thing isn’t so good. Tomorrow we will replant.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      Hahaha! Poor plants… I would have totally had the same luck! Thanks for the heads up:)

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