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NC State Extension

Activities for Kids

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Children in forest looking at leaves with the magnifying glass.
Have fun exploring hands-on activities to grow your interest and understanding of plants, bugs and soils! And if you want even more fun, reach out to your local 4-H agent for information about 4-H clubs that are doing these activities in your community.

Dig in with Soils!

Soils are important, from the growing of our food and favorite plants, to providing the materials to build the houses we live in, filtering our water, helping us recycle wastes, and providing recreational activities we enjoy. Soil is alive with organisms that help make a healthy, productive soil. Yay soil!

Child's hand holding soil

Soil Observations

Soil is so different everywhere you go. Dig in (really, dig a hole!) and find out what kind of soil you have around your home.

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Soil Ribbons

How do you know if you have sandy, clayey or loamy soil? What is each soil good for? Make a ribbon with your soil to find out!

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Soil Shimmy

A soil shimmy is another way to determine what kind of soil you have. Get your dance shoes on and get shaking (with your soil!)

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Soil Pour-Through

Water moves differently through different soil types. How does water move through your soil?

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Magnetic Soil

Did you know that soil acts similarly to a magnet? It has positive and negative charges.

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Get Growing in the Garden

Plants are amazing! All they need to grow is a little sun, some water, a place to grow and lots of love! Find out about crazy plant parts, whispering seeds to germinate, succulents to sprout and how to know a tree is an oak or a maple!

Group of kindergarten kids learning gardening outdoors

What do plants need to grow?

Learn how to plant and care for your garden

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Square-Foot Gardening

Some plants like pumpkins need a lot of room to grow and ramble. Other plants don’t mind growing close together. Use paper-towels to help you learn how much room each plant needs to grow!

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Planting Sunflowers

Planting seeds is a great opportunity to learn many life lessons and who doesn’t love a sunflower? In addition to being great contributors to flower and vegetable gardens for their food and beauty, sunflowers are essential habitat plants for pollinators.

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Plant Labels

Have you ever gotten so excited to plant seeds that you forgot where you put which seed? Or maybe you can’t quite remember how much sunlight or water that one houseplant needs. Or perhaps you’re just wanting to spend some time sitting outside and getting artsy. Plant labels are a great way to stay organized in the garden while being creative!

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Really Rad Rain Gauge

Rain is an amazing and necessary resource for plants! Too much or too little rain can sometimes hurt plants and it’s helpful for gardeners to know just how much water their plants are getting from the rain. An easy way to measure rain is by building your very own rain gauge!

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Entomological Explorations Everywhere

Dig into the marvelous world of insects! They are an important part of our world because they pollinate, decompose, serve as food for other animals, and they are a delight to observe in nature.

Closeup of little hands at forest ground pointing and touching a black bug.

Insect Observation

There are so many flying, fluttering, creeping, crawling, digging, and running insects in our world! Take some time and investigate what insects are around you.

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Creating an Insect Collection

Creating your own insect collection gives you a chance to learn about the wide and wonderful world of insects. A collection preserves insects and helps you be able to identify them, study them to recognize body parts and learn how they live their lives.

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Animal Matching Game

We share our world with so many amazing critters. Play this matching game and think about how many you have seen in your neighborhood.

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Baiting Bugs

What different types of animals live around us? In addition to dogs, cats, birds, and squirrels, we share our environment with many creatures, like ants, grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, and more. In this activity, you will use food as bait to explore the environment and see who shares your world with you.

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Winged Wonders

closeup photo of butterfly on flowers

Bugs can be scary to some, but butterflies are a delightful start to exploring our six-legged friends. Beautiful wings. Long tongues that like sugar water. Butterflies are sweet and complex. Delight in these winged wonders and do what you can to create habitats for them to thrive! 

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Raising Painted Lady Butterflies

Are you interested in raising painted lady butterflies? Painted ladies are an easy and magical way to learn about butterflies. Keep reading to learn what to expect and how to raise them!

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More Activities

Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt

Download this scavenger hunt to take with you to your favorite local Farmer’s Market!

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Garden and Farm Journal

Download this garden and farm journal to record all your observations!

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Get Growing – Quick Ideas for Garden Explorations

So many fun things to do in the garden! Here are a few of our favorite things to do – over and over again because the garden always changes!

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Plant Geek Pledge

Sometimes it might not seem “cool” to shout out your everlasting devotion to plants and soils..but it feels good. It makes you relax, laugh and look forward to the next time you can sing to your favorite flower AND give it a good dose of carbon dioxide

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Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger Hunts can be a wonderful way to explore the world! Dig in through garden geocaches or by simply finding leaves that have stripes or polka dots or may just be a favorite shade of red!

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Book List: Children’s Books about Insects

Read these fun fiction and non-fiction books about insects.

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Join the Wolfpack!

Do you have an interest in becoming a Grower? A soil scientist? An Extension Agent? A crop consultant? An entomologist? Find out ways that you can begin to make a dream of being a student at NC State and launching your career!

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