Plant identification starts early, with toddlers appreciating the beauty and colour in something as simple as a pot of flowers. By preschool, children identify different types of plants and continue learning about plant identification throughout most of their school years.
Teaching children to identify plants encourages natural curiosity while providing useful information about the world. Safety rules about harmful plants keep children safe as they explore the outdoors. Hands-on study of plants gives children a basis for future scientific study.
Learning by Age
Teach children to never eat or touch unknown plants, including fruits and berries. Young children may not identify much beyond basic categorisation such as shrub, flower or tree. Grade-schoolers enjoy identifying plants by colour, size, changes through the seasons and uses. Drawing and labelling plant parts helps children identify similarities and differences. Branch out with older children to study unusual plants, such as giant sequoias or sunflowers, or plants living in harsh conditions.
Kids love playing games, so create some games based on plant identification. Possibilities include memorising state flowers and trees, matching games using cut-out magazine pictures or those taken in your yard and a plant version of "20 Questions." Point out subtle differences between similar plants to older children, focusing on flower shape, leaf arrangement and blooming time.