Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Viewable Planter - watch the roots grow! (Summer Craft Kit 2013)

Viewable Planter - watch the roots grow!

As many of you know, I love to garden and I think it is fun to plant with kiddos. This craft is a fun way for kids to not only plant but to also see the roots growing. My inspiration for this craft came from a root viewer that I had seen for sale in an Insect Lore catalog (pretty overpriced at 30 bucks). 
Root Vue Farm - this was the inspiration!
At first I was thinking I could have the kiddos build it out of wood and plexiglass but then a little light bulb went off to use milk cartons instead. I had some blank overhead transparencies from teaching to use for the windows but you can also get inexpensive plexiglass at a home improvement store (they will often cut it to size for you) or you can save hard plastic from a spinach or lettuce tub instead of throwing it in the recycle. This craft is a fun and easy way to get the same effect of watching the roots grow but it costs much less and also up-cycles some milk cartons!

*This is in the Summer Craft Kit 2013 - click here to see the other crafts in the kit or
here to purchase a kit on my Rocky Mountain Mommas etsy shop!

Enjoy this single stem idea of Viewable Planter for
Seedlings (preschool and elementary age)...
The Stuff
The FUN!
Milk/Juice ½ gallon carton
Plastic for windows (2 pieces)
Tacky glue
Duct tape
Veggie seeds
Sticky note (2)

Water bottle watering can (poke several holes in the lid with a push pin to make it in to watering can)
1.      Adult - Cut top off milk carton.
2.      Cut window out of milk carton by cutting down and across bottom so there is an inch on both sides and the bottom. Do this to the opposite side of carton as well if you want 2 viewable windows (adult may need to do this).
3.      Check size of window by dry fitting plastic piece in milk carton opening and trim the top if needed.
4.      Add tacky glue to plastic windows around both sides and the bottom edge (not the top edge).
5.      Place plastic windows inside the carton, glue side down. Press down along glue so it spreads a little. Let dry.
6.      For extra water protection put duct tape inside along the sides and bottom edges of the plastic where it meets the milk carton (adults may need to do this step).
7.      Add soil so it is nearly to the top of the carton.
8.      Plant a couple seeds in front of each window (about ½ inch away). Read the seed packet to determine depth.
9.      Place a sticky note at the top of the plastic window. Many seeds like it dark to germinate. The sticky note can be peeked under and removed completely in a couple weeks.
10.  Use any leftover duct tape to decorate the watering can. Use push pin to poke holes in lid. Fill bottle with water and give the seeds a good watering. Check every day to make sure the soil stays moist.
* You might want to put a plate under if it is on a surface that you don’t want wet.

Now the PICTURES (for the visual learners)...

Rinse out a 1/2 gallon milk or juice carton

Cut top off (adult)
Cut windows out of carton by going down and along bottom
Dry fit plastic windows and trim
(we used a plastic transparency for an overhead but you can use
plexi-glass or cut from a plastic tub that you were going to throw in recycle)
Put tacky glue along sides and bottom of plastic
Put inside carton and press along glue

Put duct tape along seam of plastic and carton
For this pic I tore the duct tape in half long ways and it was much easier
to work with than using the whole piece
A view from the top
Add soil to nearly the top
Put seeds about 1/4 inch back from the window
The carrot seeds went about 1/4 deep

Add a sticky note to the front to allow the seeds some dark
Add water - we used our water bottle watering cans
Put in a sunny spot
Water each day and watch it grow
Sticky not can be removed in a week or so
Here is how our onion roots are looking so far!

A couple great books to read that go along with this craft beautifully are...  

More ideas…

Please BRAINSTORM your ideas/suggestions in the COMMENTS below for the Viewable Planter!
Happy Planting


  1. This is a great idea. I like that you used recycled materials to make the planter. Thank you for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday. I pinned it. (

  2. Absolutely love this idea and can't wait to try it with my twins as they have so much fun gardening with me! Featuring on my Kid's Co-Op post this week...thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this on your co-op! I can't wait for you to try it. I keep making them to try different plants/veggies to see their roots. So fun!

  3. I'm trying to think of what people could use that they would already have at home besides a piece of overhead transparency for the window part.
    Any ideas?

  4. Love this!
    maybe a sheet protector would work? Even plastic wrap would be worth a try, I think.
    pinning this!

    1. I think sheet protectors would work great! Great idea.

  5. There are numerous dissertation websites on-line because you additionally obtain obviously stated inside your web site. molds for concrete pots


Please add to the brainstorm by adding comments/suggestions/new ideas...

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