Cucumber Cactus

Preschool and toddler science activities don’t always look like beakers and reactions.  Sometimes it’s just taking a simple concept about the world and introducing it in a way they can understand.

For our All About Cactus Week, I knew we were going to the Desert Botanical Garden.  Before we went, I wanted to talk to her and show her what I mean when I talk about the “ouchy” part of a cactus – the prickles, the spines.

To demonstrate, I took two cucumbers and cut the bottoms off so they would stand upright on a paper plate.  Then I got handfuls of toothpicks and brought everything to Ava’s table.

I started by putting a few toothpicks in my cucumber to show her what the activity was.  We talked about being careful (since even the toothpicks are pokey) and that some cactuses have lots of prickly spines. We sang our favorite silly cactus song (“Don’t Sit on a Cactus” by Joel Frankel) and kept adding more toothpicks.

This was a really good activity because it taught her to be careful around the cactus spines – the more toothpicks she would add, the more careful she would have to be.

See more about our All About Cactus Week here!


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