If you want to get a child excited about gardening, growing an amaryllis bulb is a great place to start. It's hard not to be impressed by the size of the bulbs and flowers that are as big as your head!
Here are six kid-sized projects for the holidays and beyond. You can also put a few bulbs out on the table and see what they come up with!
1. Make a Growth Chart
Start with a ruler and calendar. Measure the growth day by day and use the data to make charts or graphs on paper or on a computer. Compare the growth rate for two or three different varieties, or compare the effects of sunlight and temperature on several bulbs of the same variety.
2. Study Root Growth
Grow an amaryllis in a clear glass vase with the bulb resting on stones. See the roots develop and watch them reach for the water below. How does a plant drink through its roots and how can a plant live on water alone?
3. Make Some Teacher Gifts
Amaryllis bulbs are inexpensive, totally unique gifts for the holidays and beyond. Wrap each bulb in a home-made fabric bag. Or pot them up with care instructions and a homemade plant tag. Checking in on the bulb's growth is great way for your child to connect with his or her teacher.
4. Raid the Recycling Bin
Amaryllis bulbs aren't fussy about where they grow. Challenge kids to get creative by planting the bulbs in containers that were not intended for plants. Try planting amaryllis in an old boot, a half-gallon milk jug or a pickle jar. Visit a thrift store for more inspiration.
5. Open Sesame
Who doesn't want to know what an amaryllis bulb looks like on the inside? Buy two bulbs -- one to grow and one to slice in half. Or buy a few extra bulbs and slice them open at different times to see what's happening as the bulbs start growing.
6. Plant Pals
Is there a special child in your life who you don't get to see very often? If you both grow an amaryllis at the same time, you can compare your results each day. Gardening is always more fun when you can share the experience.