One of my favorite farm themed activities for preschoolers is investigating seeds. Preschoolers are always so excited and interested to learn about how a teeny tiny seed can grown into a big tall plant that produces foods we like to eat.
While I typically include this as a science tray to accompany our farm theme in preschool, it would also be very fitting as part of a spring or gardening theme. This is always one of our most popular science trays. Preschoolers love learning about how seeds can turn into plants, especially when that plant produces fruits or vegetables we love to eat. I garden as well, so by offering this in the fall, my students have the opportunity to see and handle not only the seeds, but also the produce that comes from them. In addition to the excitement of being able to pick our snack from my garden in the fall, preschoolers also love this activity because it allows them to use magnifying glasses, which happens to please chidlren very much.
Materials for seed observation
- a large variety of seeds for planting (These should be of many different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, preferably).
- magnifying glass for each student
- snack sized zip top baggies
The seed investigation lesson
We prepared for learning by reading several books, which are listed below.
The seed sets I used were those left over from when I planted the garden the previous year. I briefly mentioned this activity in this post, but I wanted to share in more detail how I implement it in our farm theme.
I placed the seeds and packets inside snack sized zip top baggies. Before leaving the baggies on the science tray for free choice centers, I shared each one with my students and we discussed what we noticed about the seeds. I gave each preschooler a baggie and magnifying glass, and the discussion naturally took place.
Students immediately began talking about what they saw. With the fun of the magnifying glass, they noticed the small details, what the seeds were shaped like, their texture, and how big they were. With the packets inside the baggies, they commented on how much they liked the food the seeds would produce, and asked questions about what some of the pictures actually were. They made so many connections! Students talked about how some of the seeds matched those they had seen in the books they’d read, or how they know seeds are in watermelon because we had just had watermelon during snack time.
Students were surprised to find that some seeds did not look like their vegetable or fruit. For example, students wondered where the seeds were in the lettuce, arugula, chard and spinach they referred to as “leaves.” While I didn’t have an example for them of those specific plants, I did have some basil that was starting to go to seed, so we went into the garden to investigate there as well.
My favorite part about farm themed activities like this one is seeing the excitement the children have as they experience something real and tangible. While they learned a tremendous amount via the picture books above, they also learned by handling real seeds. They studied and compared them. They related them to things they already knew about. They questioned what they saw and voiced their wonderings, which brought them out to the garden for more investigating. And this activity is one that reminds me of what preschool is all about.