Native Plant Activities for Kids

Author
Take Care of Texas
River and Sky Mascots

Hi kids! We are River and Sky and we are here to help you learn about the amazing state we call home. Today, you are going to learn about the different plants in Texas, including weeds and native plants.

The Lone Star State has many beautiful trees, flowers, vines, shrubs, and grasses. Some of these plants live in Texas naturally. Others have been brought here on purpose. For example, the Chinaberry tree was brought from Asia and has been planted in yards for nearly 200 years. Some plants have been brought here accidentally. Let’s learn more!

What is a weed?

A weed has three traits. It is a plant that:

1. is not wanted where it is growing, 
2. is hard to get rid of, and 
3. has the ability to spread.

A plant could be considered a weed in one area, but not in another area.

For Example

These flowers in the flower bed are not called weeds. But this flower growing out of the crack in the sidewalk could be called a weed.
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Weeds can be a problem when they grow and spread quickly. They can take over an area and make it hard for other plants or animals to survive—these are called invasive species.

When weeds take over, they disturb the ecosystem.

What is an ecosystem?

Ecosystems include all the living and nonliving things in an area. Changes that affect one part of the ecosystem may affect all other parts of the ecosystem.

Living things include plants, animals, and organisms.
Nonliving things include weather, water, soil, rocks, and other parts. 

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Can you identify the living and nonliving parts of this east Texas ecosystem?

An ecosystem in the desert areas of West Texas will be very different from an ecosystem in the swamps of East Texas. As a result, different plants and animals live in those areas.

What is a native plant?

A native plant naturally exists in the ecosystem where it evolved.

For Example

These bald cypress trees grow naturally in East Texas where there is a lot of rain. This cholla cactus grows naturally in West Texas where there is not much rain.
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Native plants and animals interact to keep an ecosystem working properly. They provide food and a home for lots of birds and butterflies. They also help to save water and protect the soil.

You can help Texas have lots of strong, native plants by:

  • Volunteering to help remove invasive weeds from your local park.
  • Stopping the spread of these pests by cleaning your hiking boots, waders, boats, trailers, and off-road vehicles.
  • Helping your parents plant native, non-invasive plants in your yard.

Print and complete this game to learn about a few plants that are native to our great state of Texas!

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Visit our interactive house where you can discover more ways to conserve water and energy, keep our air and water clean, and reduce waste.

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