Teaching kids about seeds and their importance to plant life is one of the basic concepts taught in the early primary grades. Combine facts about seeds with hands-on activities to hold the kids' attention. This is effective whether you are a teacher creating lessons, a home schooling parent compiling plans for a unit study, or someone who wants to share a love of gardening and nature.
Seeds carry the beginnings of plants inside them. A seed has a seed coat covering it for protection. Inside, you can see the roots, leaves, embryo and food storage area. Show kids the inside of a seed and help them identify the parts. Draw a picture and label the parts of the seed for later reference.
Seeds come in different shapes, sizes and locations according to the plant from which they came. To help kids learn this fact, go on a walk to identify plants that grow from seeds, taking pictures or drawing examples. Collect seeds from plants, along with leaves, twigs or other plant items. Later, ask the children to sort these collections into two groups, seeds and other parts of plants. Add some seeds from fruits, vegetables or flowers if you need to supplement the collections. Point out that some seeds grow on the outside of fruits and vegetables, such as on a strawberry. Your walk to collect seeds also is a great time to talk with kids about some of the more spectacular plant life found around the world, such as giant redwood trees.
Seeds need water, soil, light and warmth to germinate and grow. Experiment by having the kids plant the same type of seeds in several different places, and recording observations every three to five days. Plant seeds in four or more cups and provide different amounts of water or light for each cup to see the results. Write down observations and illustrate, or make a book showing the different phases of growth.
Seeds travel in many ways. Birds eat seeds and spread them, while some are carried on the wind and still others travel on water. Before discussing the way seeds move, read some books about seeds with kids, such as "From Seed to Dandelion," by Jan Kottke or "Seeds" by Ken Robbins.
Once children understand the complete life cycle of a seed from its beginning in the ground through its growth and development into a plant and the spread of seeds to form new plants, help them set up a dramatisation of the steps. This can be designed for many kids or just a few. One or two children can act out a seed changing to seedling and then a full-grown plant that scatters its seeds. For a larger number of kids, group them by each stage of growth. Some can be the seeds that travel and still others can act out rain, sun and wind. Depending on the age, one or more children can be narrators.