I'm thinking of supplying my sons 2nd grade class (about 20) with peat pots and seeds they can start as a class project and grow a flower for their parents for Christmas...but need ideas as to whats the best seeds to use.
I don't wanna get TOOOOO expensive (otherwise I'd just go with Amaryllis bulbs). I have to keep in mind these are 7 year olds...and I don't wanna have to burden the teacher with TOO much work.
That's a tough one because you have to factor in that it's something that will grow well from seed during a time of the year when the daylight hours are getting shorter. Sunflowers are a good choice in late winter/spring when the days are lengthening, but not the best choice this time of year. Marigolds are easy, but very common and, perhaps, not all that exciting. The first thing that comes to my mind would be snapdragons. They do well, in Florida, during the winter and are nice flowers. There are many nice short varieties and if you choose to go with a tall variety the "Rocket Series" is quite reliable. If they are started in the next couple of weeks they should produce their first blooms by Christmas. I'll keep thinking about it and post if I think of something else.
Would it have to be a flower? Could you maybe have them grow some edible herbs or something instead? That way you don't have to worry about whether you'll be able to get it to bloom at the right time. I know there's a certain degree of satisfaction when they see the flower, but maybe they could get a similar feeling from being able to help prepare a meal using the fresh herbs that they grew.
My first thought was also sunflowers, because the seeds are so big and easy to handle...germinate quick, just easy.
Some type of beans would be great if you wanted something edible...or pumpkins, except they require so much room...
Maybe consider some herbs, that would be an awesome Christmas gift the kids would be very proud to take home! (and make the classroom smell great!! + you don't have any dangers to worry if the crazy kid eats them, lol)
Really easy, easy, easy would be simple grass seed...sounds silly, but put in the right container and using the right type of grass that is really HOT right now...go look at any store and you will see fake grass for sale, LMBO, fake grass!!! Just copy what they have done in the stores, have the kids trim it to a certain height before they take it home...buy one of the fake grass and give it to the teacher so they can copy it.
I would also suggest Cypress Vine. Although it's a vine and that may cause a bit of a problem with the plants twining together (only problem I can think of with them)...the seeds are decent size for the kids, easy to grow, etc...but the BEST part is that they are red and green and have always, always reminded me of Christmas...almost like a Pointsettia on a vine. If you could pull it off it'd be perfect. I looked them up and saw where someone said they germinated in 4 days and were great for beginners at seed starting. My vote is for these. They may need soaked overnight, but I may be confusing that with Cardinal Climber...but even if they do need soaked, that would be more fun for the kids...nice and slimey...ewwwww. lol. Can't you just see the Cypress Vine twining up the Christmas Tree? Ooooh, I think I'm going to go plant one myself!!! The heck with fake ornaments, it's Cypress Vine this year!
I'll be thinking some more today. If I come up with anything I'll post. I love stuff like this...obviously! Thanks for doing this for the kids, they will LOVE it!! =)
One other thing comes to mind, and I haven't had time to look it up as far as difficulty, but maybe you can...what about a loofa plant? The kids and parents would love that. Don't know if there are any dangers (poisonous, etc) that go along with it. They could grow their own loofa for bath time...how fun!!
I just test-germinated some winter rye, and a mix of cover crops that had a pretty variety of seeds (on coffee filters).
In just one or two days, they sprouted, elbowed me aside, and went marching off into the back yard to rake the bed and plant themselves.
I suggest that kind of thing for the "easy ones". That way, the kids see instant results, and if other seeds are slow, they won't get disapointed or bored, just aware that some seeds are harder than others.
Maybe give them some oats to take home and plant indoors as "winter cat grass". Make the first project EASY.