During fall, trees and some bushes are the main show with their dramatic burst of color. Take a walk through the woods or a field, however, and you will probably return with some barbs hitching a ride on your clothing, prickly burrs on your pet, or seeds attached to fuzzies (as my children like to call them) in your hair – all trying to get your attention with a bit of their own drama.
Upon first glance, many plants may already seem to be starting their winter slumber. There just doesn’t seem to be much going on once spring and summer blooms have passed. But take a closer look… Plants are hoping to send off their seeds before their long rest to assure a new generation. Whether it’s in a cultivated garden or a wild habitat, you’re sure to find all sorts of interesting seeds: parachutes, exploders, hitchhikers, and winged-seeds to name some. There are even seed pods that sound like a rattle!
Year after year my children are captivated by the seeds that they find: How did this seed travel so far? Why are these soft and fuzzy but these hard and prickly? How many different types of seeds are there? I shared our exploration of fall seeds at Playful Learning last year and as we add collected seeds to our nature table once again, I thought I would revisit it and share it with you. I hope, after doing some exploring of their own, your children will be just as curious and that the resources and activity printables provided will help guide their interest into meaningful experiences.
- A Seed is Sleepy by
- Seeds by ken Robbins
- Who Will Plant a Tree by Jerry Pallotta
- Flip, Float, Fly! Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken
- DK Eyewitness Books: Plant by David Burnie
- Field Studies Council: a simple and informative page with a helpful graphic
- PBS Nature: a selection of videos showing different dispersal methods
Click on the links below for some printables. Once your children have gone exploring and collected various seeds, two of the printables can be used to sort the seeds. The last provides space to draw different ways that animals transport seeds (my children’s favorite). This is a good activity to do after reading Who Will Plant a Tree.
Before you and your children go off exploring, here’s two interesting seed facts:
- Some oak trees do not produce acorns until they are around 50 years old.
- Jack pines depend on fire to open and release their cones/seeds. Until a fire, the pine cones remain tightly closed and sealed in a resin.