What Living Things Need to Grow


Preschoolers have a natural curiosity about themselves and the world around them. Help them understand what living things need to grow.

Tools and Materials

None needed

Steps to take

Use the environment around you to talk about growing and what living things need- the food you eat; the birds outside; the trees; your pet or a neighbor's dog or cat.

At Home

If you have 3 minutes

  • Talk with your child about what your household pets need. Have them feed, water and care for the pet.
  • Ask your child what they need to grow. "What does a baby need to grow?", "What does an older child need to grow?" Have your child pretend to be the parent and take care of you. Discuss what you need.
  • Label your child's height on a growth chart over time and discuss growth after doctor's visits . Discuss how your child's height and weight have changed. Take photos of your child, compare photos and point out how your child has changed.
  • Pretend play doctor with your child. Have your child play the doctor and listen to your heart beating. "Ask your child if trees have hearts?", "Do animals have hearts?"
  • Talk about exercise with your child. Why do we exercise? Explore new means of exercise with your child.

On the Go

If you have 3 minutes   

  • Go to the library and find books on specific animals that your child is interested in.

If you have more time

  • Cut out pictures in magazines of animals that live in the water, land, fly, and other categories.
  • As the seasons change, talk about the changes in certain trees. "Why are their leaves falling?"
  • Have your child plan a healthy meal for your family.
  • If possible, observe a caterpillar and the changes it goes through. Have your child draw/write about what they see.

Words to Know

Living    Healthy    Growth    Compare    Seasons    Parts of flowers    Parts of trees    Parts of insects

Possible Observations

Cares for a pet or plant; names insects and plants; names parts of a plant or insects; observes how living things grow; names healthy foods; explores his or her growth and needs for growing; compares growing needs of a child and plants