I always try to draw the children’s attention to things going on in the garden and this time of year is full of change as summer moves into autumn. The sunflowers that we planted a few months ago have all bloomed and withered but there is still fun to be had with them – and plenty to learn about.
I cut three of the sunflowers down and presented the boys with one each. They explored the textures of the different parts and waved them about. A few of the seeds fell to the ground and we talked about what they were and examined the seed heads further.
The obvious next step for our inquisitive young minds was to find out how to extract more seeds. J (23m) used a pincer grip to pull them out. A (4y) used brute force to pull the head apart and release several at once.
Then he dropped it on the ground and quite a few fell out. His next discovery was very effective: he decided to stamp on it! This resulted in lots of seeds to gather up and put in the table.
When the boys grew tired of the sunflowers, I showed them the seed pods on the faded sweet pea plants and they couldn’t wait to see what was inside. We examined withered brown pods and fresh green pods and discovered that the seeds inside were different colours and textures.
We talked about how we must never eat anything that we find in the garden and why, even if it resembles a familiar fruit, berry or vegetable.
After that, we wandered around the garden looking for more seeds. We found poppy seeds and listened carefully to the noise the seeds made when we shook the seed heads.
We tipped the seeds out onto our hands. They were much smaller than the large sunflower and sweet pea seeds.
We found fluffy seeds, compared them to dandelion clocks and talked about them being carried on the wind.
There were lots more seeds to be found and we carefully placed all our seed heads into a container, ready to use for next week’s craft activity. All I need to do now is think of something to do with them!