By Heather Rhoades
One very fun project that you can do with children is to show them how an avocado will grow from a pit. Because avocado pits are so large, they are easy for even the youngest child to handle. Sprouting avocado pits is an excellent way to show children how plants grow from seeds.
What you will need for this avocado seed growing project is a few avocados, some toothpicks, a few glasses of water and a sunny window.
Prepare the Avocado Seed
Remove the avocado pits from the center of the avocados. Have the children wash the avocado pits so that none of the meat from the avocado fruit remains on the seed.
Once the avocado pits are clean, take a look at the avocado seed. You will notice that it is almost tear shaped. The narrower top of the seed is where the stem and leaves will grow. The more broad end of the seed is where the roots will grow. With the broad end of the avocado pits pointing down, stick several toothpicks around the center of each avocado seed.
How to Root an Avocado Seed
Next, place the avocado seed, broad end down, on the glass of water. Sprouting avocado pits in glasses of water will allow the children to see how an avocado tree will grow from a pit. The toothpicks will make it so that only the bottom one third to half of the avocado pits will be in the water.
Place the avocado pits in their glasses in a location where they will get plenty of sun. Be sure to keep the water at a constant level. Watch for sprouting avocado pits. Eventually you will see an avocado seed growing roots. Not all of the avocado pits will develop roots, but at least a third of them should. This is an excellent opportunity to explain that the reason that plants produce so many fruits (with seeds) is because not all of the seeds are guaranteed to grow.
Planting the Sprouting Avocado Pits
Once an avocado seed is growing roots, wait until the roots are 2-3 inches long and then transfer the sprouting avocado pits to a pot with soil in it. You may or may not see the avocado seed growing the stem and leaves from the top at this time. Continue to water the growing avocado pits and they will continue to grow. Avocados make excellent houseplants.
Showing children how to how to root an avocado seed is a great way for a child to become visually aware of the life cycle of a plant. Plus, children will find it fun and magical to see how an avocado will grow from a pit.