With a day full of work emails, video meetings, and keeping caught up on work, I did far less schooling then I should have today. But we did get in our nature and science, nothing like the promise of a blog post to help me prioritize. So today was about seeds!
Seeds are an easy way to learn about a lot of different things. We started out with a seed hunt through the neighborhood. Fall is the best time to look for seeds, before they all get eaten up by birds, squirrels and other animals throughout the winter, but we still managed to make some interesting finds. From the left-over shells of acorns and walnuts, to maple and tulip poplar seeds, to berries and pods that survived the winter, we had a nice collection by the end of our walk.
Back inside, we also looked at some seeds that I already had in the house. I had two different types of milkweed seeds that I’m planning to plant for the butterflies (milkweed is the host plant for Monarchs), so we observed the different seeds, complete with notes in a new science journal we started today. After observing the seeds, we then planted some to put in the yard later this spring.
Planting seeds can be a fun activity that leads to lots of little lessons as you watch the plants grow. We started our seeds in an egg container, the plastic ones that fold over make a great mini-greenhouse, but you could use anything, from pots you already have to the clam-shell plastic containers that berries come in, be creative. If your container has a clear plastic lid you won’t have to water your seeds as often. The key to getting seeds to germinate is to keep them warm and damp.
Here are a few more fun things you can do with seeds!
- Do you plan to grow a garden this summer? This is the perfect time to start your plants from seed. Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and even herbs can be started indoors.
- Dried beans are a great seed to explore if you don’t have anything else. You can dissect beans and identify the different seed parts, see diagram. If you don’t want to plant them, or at least not right away, you can put a few seeds in a Ziplock bag with a couple of wet cotton ball and place it in a warm place. The roots of the plant will begin to emerge from the seeds in just a couple of days. But remember, once the leaves start to emerge you need to take them out of the bag and plant in a pot.
- Seeds are also great for younger children learning to sort things into groups, compare and contrast, and in general practicing their observation skills. If you venture out to the store a bag of the 13 bean soup can be lots of fun.
– Written by Stacy Carr-Poole, Executive Director at Bucks Audubon