How do you study seeds with children during nature studies? Summer is fading away and plants are now making seeds instead of flowers. Many creatures use these seeds for food in autumn and winter and it encourages new plant life for the next year! When a seed travels away from the parent plant and each other the process is called seed dispersal. I love the book A Seed is Sleepy to teach children about the study of seeds.
Nature Walk Activity for how to study seeds with children:
Take a walk and observe the different plants and trees at your favorite outdoor spot. Encourage your child to ponder why a seed would need to travel away from the parent plant. Discuss with your child what plants need to survive. Is the plant competing for sunlight or water? Does the plant need room to grow? Ask your child why they think it would be important for a seed to travel away from the parent plant.
Spend time gathering various Seeds & fruits for nature study:
Ask your child how each seed is dispersed. As you study look for special features of the seed. Encourage your child to describe what they notice. They can even come up with their own words to describe the seed.
Create a table in their nature journal on Seed Dispersal
Four ways that plants disperse seeds, or the fruit containing seeds:
- Plant: Plants rely on heat to cause their seed pods to ‘explode’. Geraniums are one of my favorites!
- Animals: Some seeds are eaten by hungry animals. The droppings (or poop) are great fertilizer for the land. Animals love blackberries and apples with seeds. Some plants like Burdock or a Cocklebur are covered in hooks or hairs that attach the seed to an animal’s feather or fur. Squirrels love to collect hazelnuts or acorns and bury them. If they seed is forgotten, it will germinate and new trees will grow!
- Water: Some seeds are buoyant and can be carried by water! Willow and Alder plants can float and can travel by stream! Coconuts can too!
- Wind: Milkweed and Dandelions act as parachutes with tiny hairs that carry the seeds long distances in the wind. Maple, Sycamore, and Ash all have wings that can be carried in the wind. The seed will slide or glide and can be carried far distances from the parent tree.
How to Sketch seeds in your Nature Journal
Encourage your child to identify and sketch any seeds that they found. They can use crayons, colored pencils, or even watercolors to add color. My daughter found Pokeberries (that look very appetizing) and made paint from them to use in her nature journal. The berries can be found late summer and early fall and aren’t for humans to eat! These berries are for migrating deer and other animals.
how to study seeds with children during Nature studies
- Display your seed collection in an egg box/carton or on a table to make a display.
- Collect seeds and glue them to card stock and design a picture!
- Gather Maple, Sycamore, Ash, or Oak seeds to study how they disperse. Does the seed get stuck on your clothing? Do any of them float? What happens to the seed when it is falling?
- What would it be like to be a traveling seed? Write a story about where you are from and how do you travel? Tell about the adventures of the seed.
- Use a magnifying glass to investigate seeds that attach to animals.
- Create a picture of seeds glued to card stock. Label the seeds with the parent plant and how they are dispersed.