Because spring is on its way and we love to grow as much of our own food as possible, we spent some time learning about seeds in tot school. We tried to tie in this week with when we would do some seed starting anyways; that way we could get plants ready and involve our daughter in the process!
This week as a great review week for us. Especially since my daughter is so young, some of the concepts get lost on her. Being able to revisit colors, shapes, and textures is always a good way to reinforce learning without doing everything all over again. Since plants and seeds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, what better time to review some of that?!
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Supplies and Books for Learning about Seeds
Find my Gardening and Earth Day book list here.
I am a HUGE fan of the Let’s Read and Find Out Science Books (I used one in the magnet unit). The one applicable here is entitled How a Seed Grows . What I love the most is that it shows an example of a seed and then the plant that it grows to be.
Noggin and Bobbin in the Garden is a great short book. It’s also wonderful for either early readers or early speakers. I like to incorporate books that have short sentences and are easily “digestible” for young learners.
As I am also a fan of Eric Carle, I could not pass up the opportunity to buy another one of his books. This time is was The Tiny Seed and it’s fabulous. It’s a bit of a longer read, but it goes through how seeds may or may not actually turn into a plant (which in my opinion is a good concept to cover).
I also found I Want To Do… Outdoor Gardens at a local thrift store. It’s fairly advanced and would be good for elementary kids (or even adults!). However, it’s got great pictures and is very detailed on how to start seeds, plant a garden, maintain it, and even harvest it. It would be great for a family that is starting out in gardening where the parent would love to read up on it, but needs some great pictures to keep the kids entertained!
Of course you need to start with SEEDS! I love purchasing from SeedsNow.com. They are Organic, non-GMO seeds AND they offer a great variety of sample packets for only $0.99. This is one of the ways that we can have a vast garden, but not spend a lot of money! They are where almost all of our seeds come from each year and we have had great success with sprouting and quality of seeds. If you are planning to purchase seeds from them, please use my affiliate link by clicking here.
As far as supplies go, there are lots of options to inspire some fun learning activities. You can choose to use traditional pots, watering cans, spades, and other materials, or you can find some great options to upcycle. We chose not to use any new plastic pots, but opted to find more sustainable choices. For the past couple of years, we have loved used coco coir seed starters (from pots to the peat moss alternative). They are biodegradable and they are sustainable (whereas peat is not).
- We have used coco coir pots as mentioned above, toilet paper rolls, newspaper, shot glasses, and even old k-cups for starting seeds and lots of other goods around the house. My favorite one is using k-cups because it already has a drainage hole an they’re almost the perfect size! (Plus I hate that they only get one use which had me upset that my husband used one at work. So, he brought home the cups for me and collected them from co-workers too!)
- Sun Hats and Wellie Boots also has some great ideas on using everything from milk jugs to rain boots as pots!
Even if you don’t want to build a grow light system, you can purchase a single regular grow light bulb that fits in a standard lamp. This is great for discussing how grow lights help us start seeds when there’s too little sun.
Other Ideas and Activities for Learning About Seeds
Watch seeds grow! Seeds should sprout in water within a week, meaning you can complete this “experiment” by the time your learning week is done.
- You can grow a seed in a jar with cotton balls like found here at The Imagination Tree and see the whole process unfold. This is such a great way to see the entire plant from root to tip and a great experiment for kids
- You can also plant small seeds inside of a CD case with a wet sheet of felt. The case acts as a small green house and the felt acts as a source of water.
- You can sprout an avocado seed by putting 3 pins in it so that it balances on a cup of water. We have done this a few times and it took a few weeks in the sun with water for it to sprout.
Start a micro-garden! It’s important to teach children where their food is derived. This means getting them involved. Studies show that children involved in growing their own food tend to eat what they grow. (Or at the very least they’ll try it). So even if you don’t have the space for even a container garden, start a microgarden in a window sill with your tots like I did here using k-cups or like Hugo and Mathilda did here with Cress Seeds.
Visit the local Farmers Market or Farm. It is always a fun adventure to talk to farmers and see what they do day in and day out. Getting to see greenhouses and rows of plants makes for a fun field trip. Here in Oklahoma, we have a great place called Sunrise Acres. He’s an organic farmer and teaches classes at the farmers market as well as sells at the market all year long. There is bound to be someone like this near you!
Go on a Hike or just spend time outside. Explore the shapes of different plants, touch them and explain their textures, spot plants of different colors! In all, enjoy nature and talk about how it all originally started from seed. From the grass to the trees, there are endless options when it comes to talking about seeds and plants.
Role Play. Get a big enough pot where your toddler can sit inside of it. Water them with a watering can and have them grow! We did this when my daughter turned one because it was part of her Grow Birthday, but it’s also just a great activity for them to do while playing.
Examine various types of seeds. Every plant’s seed looks different. This is a great lesson is diversity as well as observation.
- Buggy and Buddy has a great activity and free printable on observing bulb growth.
- Fantastic Fun and Learning has a couple of great activities denoting the difference in seeds. Do a simple seed sort like this idea or investigate the sizes, shapes, and colors of different seeds like he kids do here.
Play in the Dirt. You can easily decorate biodegradable pots with crayons and markers. It’s also fun and easy to have your toddlers and preschoolers help you fill them with dirt. And even if they don’t really “help” it’s a fun way to have a sensory adventure.
Build a Mini Greenhouse. This is as easy as using an old plastic bottle or even a plastic bag or cling wrap.
This week’s Bible Verse: Matthew 13:31-32 “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Find more information on themes we have already completed and download the calendar & planner to start any time! There are more theme posts each week with lots of fun ideas all the time.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!