Getting kids invested in growing and nature can be challenging – so many things compete for their attention. Yet children who have the opportunity to develop this interest are better connected to the environment around them. Growing seedlings in eggshells is a simple and creative project that requires little material, lets them play with soil and gives them a tangible result they can point to with pride.
First plan to make breakfast together, using as many eggs as you would like to have seedlings. You can also save shells in advance for the project.
- Use a dull knife point or pen to make a small hole at the bottom of the egg; this is your drainage hole. It’s easier to do this with the egg still in the shell otherwise it tends to crack.
- Next gently crack the top of the shell, breaking off a small circle and pouring your egg out into a container. Break off bits of the shell until you have an even opening, large enough to pour a spoonful of dirt into and wide enough for the seedling to grow out of.
- Take the shell over to the sink and run warm water into it while running your finger along the inside, dislodging any membrane and removing all traces of the egg. Shake the shells dry and let them sit in their carton.
- Set up a working surface with newspaper, soil mixture, spoons, seeds and labels. The shells are too fragile for plastic markers, instead use masking tape to write the seed name on and stick it to the carton.
- Spoon seed starting mixture into your shells, push the seed gently into the soil, water until moist and label.
- When choosing what seed to grow think of what will grow quickly and can later be moved outside into the garden or grown on a windowsill in the house. Nasturtiums, Sweet Peas and Sunflowers grow quickly and make good candidates for flowers. Peas and Green Beans are quick-growing vegetables.
- Place plastic wrap or a clear dome lid over your egglings to trap moisture and put them in a warm spot until they sprout, moving them into sunshine afterwards.
- Remove the plastic cover periodically once the seedlings are up to allow for moisture to escape. Once your seedling is big enough to transplant cup the egg in your palm and gently crush the shell before planting in a bigger pot.
Give the kids a camera and let them take photos of all the stages, they can tape the photos to the wall as a growth chart for their plant.