Sunday, November 16, 2014

20 Things to Do with Seeds, Acorns, Pods, and Berries!

Fall is the perfect time to explore seeds, acorns, pods and berries. These are great natural treasures. Here are 20 ideas! 
  •  Make homemade paper and add seeds to the process. “Plant” the paper to see what grows.
  • Mandalas made from seeds, acorns, pods, and berries are a fun way to show patterns, repetition, etc.
  •  Pull a long, old sock over your child’s shoe and take a hike. Investigate all the seeds the sock picked up along the way.  Plant the whole sock and see what grows and/or sprout it in a plastic bag.
  • Make a seed collection, with various seeds from plants in your area.
  • Sort and categorize seeds. Use your own collection and/or use a 15 bean mix, adding in a few special seeds on your own. Egg cartons make great sorting bins! Explore textures, colors, sizes, dispersal methods, etc. 
  • Count with seeds and acorns!
  •  Use chalk Venn diagrams to compare and contrast different seeds and acorns.
  •  Eat them! Have a seed buffet, with a variety of edible dried berries and seeds, such as raisins, dried mulberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more!
  •  Feed the birds. Make edible nature art for the birds and other animals by making a garland with their favorites or freezing seeds and berries in water for an ice sculptures. Make bird feeders with pinecones, peanut butter, and bird seed. Try it on a cardboard cut out for another twist. 
  • Make natural dyes. Black walnuts make a great brown.
  • Trace what happens to the energy of a seed or berry through its journey as it is eaten, that organism is eaten, etc. See Seed Need.  
  • Explore sound by making nature shakers. Place berries and seeds in individual plastic eggs. Try to match up the sounds if you make two of the same natural item. Try to guess what seeds might be inside.
  •  Make a seed matching game, matching a picture of the plant to the correct seed.
  • Put tiny seeds in a shaker with large holes to make “nature” glitter.
  • Look at how seeds are dispersed, though animals, wind, water, etc. What similarities do you see? Barb has many great printables and seed nature studies here to extend the experience.
  • Experiment with wind and seed dispersal. Blow dandelion seeds! Keep milkweed seeds up in the air. Get a cattail that is letting its seeds fly. These easily keep us occupied for an hour, put smiles on our faces, and encourage us to move around! Read about milkweed seed balloons on pages 493-494 of the Handbook of Nature Study.
  • Read about cone bearing trees on pages 670-678 of Handbook of Nature Study. Make a collection of the various types of cones.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt, looking just for seeds, cones, acorns, and berries.
  • Plant a native garden with seeds from nearby walks. Milkweed is a great addition to help with Monarch butterflies!
  • Find a u-pick strawberry or blueberry patch in the summer. Store your picks to use through the rest of the year as jam or frozen. Pick wild berries, such as mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries. 
This originally appeared in the Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter in November 2014. I love the inspiration there!

This was also shared with the Outdoor Play Party!