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‘Nurture fresh thinking for a healthy world’

SHS Garden Journal Blog

Children's Activity - September

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Children’s Activity - The life of a Seed

Seeds can be found everywhere! Seeds come in different shapes and sizes, and are bursting to spring to life when the right conditions exist. Seeds can be found in pods, flower heads and fruits. Water and warmth are the perfect kick-start to the process of germination.

Observe seeds in the environment

When you next see a Dandelion Flower, watch it over a few days observing and documenting change over time. Notice the transformation from the bright yellow flower to a head full of seeds that disperse in the breeze to create new plants. When children blow the seeds to make a wish, let them know they are mimicking seed dispersal that occurs in nature with a breath of wind.

Strawberries are a favourite to observe, as they grow in our garden or in pots whilst you nurture the gift of patience. Children are so eager to pick a delicious strawberry as soon as they see a hint of red; their anticipation is harvested as they check on the fruit each day. Watch the fruit as it emerges from the flower – point out the tiny seeds. Protect the fruit from slugs and snails to avoid disappointment.

Take the time with your children to notice the different types of seeds found in our favourite fruits - Watermelon, Rockmelon, Apple, Pear, Banana, Tomato.  Identify the stages of life with children by matching the seed to its plant and fruit. 

Sprouts in the kitchen

While it is important for children to experience and observe delayed results as they occur in nature – it is also exciting for children to experience immediate results. This balance will create interest in exploring learning further. A great way to do this, whilst promoting healthy eating is by growing sprouts in a jar on your kitchen windowsill. Sprouts are a tasty and nutritious addition to your salad or sandwiches that and are easily grown.  They can be harvested about 6 days after planting. Tasty varieties include Radish, Fenugreek and Broccoli sprouts.

Sunflower Seeds

Children love the beauty of a sunflower. Its size, vivid yellow colour and abundance of seeds visible on the plant is a point of fascination for children.  The germination of a sunflower seed is the perfect way to demonstrate the complete life cycle of a plant from seed to new seed. Once the sunflower has matured and you are ready to collect its seeds – count how many seeds can be collected from one flower – you will be amazed! Save the seeds to start the growth process again.

Birds, Bees and other Garden Creatures

Growing plants from seed is extremely rewarding. Particularly when the seed has been saved from a mature plant in your garden. While we can give seeds a helping hand to grow by planting them in soil and nurturing them, teaching children the important role that birds, bees, other creatures and wind have in this process is invaluable. Pollination and seed dispersal are essential to the existence of living things for the production of food sources. The story of pollen collecting on the tiny feet of a bee as it feeds on nectar, dropping this on another flower that it stops at for another little feed; is a memorable way for young children to envisage this process.

A wonderful resource to further explore the potential of seeds is The Seed Savers’ Handbook by Michel & Jude Fanton.
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