Do you know what this is? It doesn't look all that exciting, right? To us, this is excitement of the highest order--a tiny sprout from one of last-year's impatiens seeds: Last year, for the first time, we tried harvesting seeds and saving them to plant the next year. There's nothing monumental about this, obviously, except to us. We're attempting various other kinds of seed-saving this year, but we started with impatiens because they are so easy and satisfying to harvest. I highly suggest trying this with kids if you haven't already.
At some point in the late summer (or maybe early fall? I forgot) the plants have these twisty, shiny green seed pods. You can carefully remove them and "pop" them into a jar. They're really, really satisfying to pop open, kind of like one of those super-artificial tubes of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls you find in the refrigerator section at the grocery store. They pop very easily, so you have to be careful not to hold them too tightly before you get them home or indoors. Then you can just save them in a dry place until the next year.
I obviously planted our seeds far too late, but we have a few tiny seedlings now, so we just have to see if they will flower.
I love activities like this for their slow, long-term investment. We're so used to having and doing everything immediately, and it's nice to have activities that simply can't be done that way. You harvest the seeds, and they sit. And wait. And you wait. And maybe you even forget about them, but then many, many months later, you can plant them. And even then, you have to wait weeks to see if they sprout.
There is so much our children can learn not only from seeing us dedicate ourselves to activities with delayed rewards, but also to participating in them themselves. My little chickies are a bit young to fully grasp this, and they will be for a while, but I still firmly believe they benefit from a life in which not everything comes quickly and easily.