Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preschool Activities: Seed Soar

By Deborah Pace Rowley

Recently we have been inundated with cotton from the cottonwood trees that dot our yard. I love to watch the cotton float lazily through the air like some incongruous snow storm on a summer day. Watching things (and making things) fall to the ground is fascinating stuff for preschoolers and it makes a great science lesson too!
On a summer day when there is a light breeze, take your preschooler to the park or backyard. Talk about how plants spread and multiply when their seeds are carried by the wind. To illustrate this, see if you can find a dandelion with its white head and let your child blow the spores to places unknown in an effort to spread and conquer the planet through their weedy destruction! (Don’t do this while your lawn-obsessed neighbor is watching!) Explain that every spore that lands then has the potential to become another dandelion if it gets the proper sunlight, rain, and dirt to grow. Seeds don’t always travel by the wind. You can also discuss other methods of transportation. Birds can carry seeds to other places. We can pick up seeds or burs or other plant life on our shoes and carry it to distant places where it can grow.  

After your brief lesson, see how many types of seeds or leafs or pods you can find. Then climb onto the top of the playground equipment and send your collection of seeds soaring to the earth one at a time. How does each seed float? How fast do they fall? Which seed traveled farthest from the place that it started? Make predictions and test your predictions together. Just think, you may have helped a baby weed get its start in the world.

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