Toddlers, together with parent/caregiver will:
- Explore seeds by way of the five senses
- Become introduced to the idea that specific plants grow from specific seeds
- Discover the seeds inside fruits and vegetables
- Discover some of the seeds that come from flowers, trees, and other plants
- Examine the life cycle of a plant through role play
- Use seed activities to develop fine and gross motor skills as well as explore simple mathematical concepts
Activity: Does it float?
Collect a variety of seeds. Going on walks in the woods, the garden, and the grocery store are great places to find seeds. Have your tot pick out a seed. Ask “Do you think the seed will float on the top of the water or sink to the bottom?” Try it. Place the seed in a tub of water. What happened?
Activity: Does it roll down a slide?
Collect a variety of seeds. Have your tot pick out a seed. Ask “Do you think the seed will roll down the slide?” Try it. Have your tot place the seed at the top of a slide or an elevated plank of wood. What happened? Try another one. Send the seeds down a paper towel tube. What happened? This is great fine motor skill development.
Activity: It’s a Nut!
Seeds are great for exploring shapes, smells, and textures. Don’t forget to crack some open and check out what is inside. Use a nutcracker or a hammer to crack open the tough seed coat. Look at seeds that have been chewed on by animals. “Who do you think ate this one?”
Activity: Feely Bag
Place two trays with seeds on the table. Each tray should have the same seeds on it. Place one seed in the feely bag. Have your tot try to feel which seed it is. Using the other tray, have your tot point to the seed that she thinks is inside the bag. Take turns hiding a seed in the bag.
Activity: Oh, beans!
Beans are seeds too! Fill an old sock with beans or rice. This is great for fine motor development. When the sock is heavy enough, tie off the end. See if you can walk with a bean bag on your head, arm, tummy, back, etc. Can you toss the beanbag into a clothes basket?
Activity: Seed Sort
Gather seeds of various sizes (acorns, pumpkin seeds, other vegetable or flower seeds, seeds from trees, etc.). Next, poke a hole in the top of several containers, coffee cans work well. Each hole should be a different size (example: Small, medium, and large). Help your child sort seeds of various sizes by dropping them through the holes in the containers. Ask questions like, “Does this large seed fit into this small hole? Why not?” You can also discuss size, color, and texture of seeds. Try counting seeds as you drop them into a slot.
Activity: Seed Box
Fill a large container with seeds, such as millet or sunflower seeds. Use cups, containers, and spoons, to fill and dump just like you would in a sandbox.
Activity: Seed Collage
Squirt Elmer’s glue onto a plate. Let your tot dip seeds into the glue and place seeds of all sizes, shapes, colors, and textures onto a piece of dark construction paper.
Activity: Seed Bracelet
Fit your child with a masking tape bracelet (sticky side out). You can place one on each arm if your child would like. Make one for yourself too! Go for a walk. Help your tot add seeds and small cones to their bracelet. Afterward, examine what you find. What colors are they? Do you have any prickly ones? Which one is the smallest, the largest?
Activity: Seed Shakers
Staple two small paper plates together. Leave a small space to add seeds. Have your tot add seeds, (use corn, sunflower seeds, nuts, etc.) staple the gap shut. Shake hard, shake softly, shake over your head, shake between your legs, shake and jump! Create different shakers using different seeds. Do different seeds make different sounds?
Activity: Seed Sack
Fill a sack with different seeds: Squash, apple, flower seeds, etc. Did you know that acorns and pine cones are seeds too? Dump the contents of the sack on a large sheet of white paper. Examine the seeds. Sort or count them. Which one is the biggest? Which one is the smallest? How do they feel? Do you know what is hiding inside an acorn? An oak tree! The walnut has a walnut tree inside! Share how amazing your thing that is with your child. She will pick up on your enthusiasm and wonder!
Activity: Seed Surprise
Have on hand a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as a apple, pumpkin, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, green pepper, cucumber, lemon, etc. Carefully cut into each fruit or vegetable to discover what kind of seed is inside. How many seeds can you find? Are they big or small? How do they feel? Do they have a smell? (hold the seed for your child while she smells it) Have your child put their tongue on the seed or the vegetable/fruit from which it came. How does it taste? Can you line them up? Compare the seeds of different fruits and vegetables.
Exploring a pumpkin is a very tactile activity. Cut a pumpkin open and squish the slimy seeds through your fingers. Can you hold just one seed between your fingers? Wash and dry the seeds if you wish to roast them or simply dry them for pumpkin planting in the spring.
Activity: Farmer Brown
Set up a pretend garden: Have your child don garden gloves and garden hat. Pick up a spade and plant a seed (pumpkin, apple, squash, corn, etc.) in a box filled with dirt. Pretend to water your seed with a watering can, then “watch it grow!” Show your toddler what the finished product would look like (have on hand—the apple that comes from the apple seed, the corn that comes from the corn seed, the pumpkin that comes from the pumpkin seed, etc.) Open up the fruit or vegetable to show them the seed inside that could be planted again!
Will You Read to Me?
Take time to enjoy a story.
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
Oh Say Can You Seed? By Bonnie Worth
Activities provided by:
E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Road
Webster City, Iowa 50595-7375
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by REAP-CEP