Fall in the desert is a perfect time to begin enjoying the outdoors. Many plants begin developing seeds this time of year. Seeds travel across the landscape with the help of animals, wind and water. This ‘free transportation’ allows them to find a suitable location to take root and grow into a new plant.
A fun activity is to take a seed-collecting walk around your neighborhood or local park and see how many different types of seed pods you can discover. Bring along a basket or container to gather the seeds you collect. Seeds and the pods that hold them come in different sizes, shapes and colors. While you are on your walk, you can also observe patterns in nature and compare how things look the same and different. Always have permission before collecting from any property that is not one’s own, including in city or county parks.
After the walk, have the child sort the seeds and pods into different categories like, size, shape and color. Depending on the age of the child, they may need examples of how to do this. Children can also share other category ideas for sorting. Once seeds are sorted, you can lead them through making patterns like small, large, and small. Guide them through this activity, allowing them to come up with their own patterns while also giving them opportunities to explain the patterns they have created.
Finally, you can also encourage them to create art with the seeds they collected by creating other types of patterns. As the child creates their seed pod art ask about what they are making, why they chose to make that and, what is important to them about it.
This activity provides many wonderful benefits for young children like, identifying similarities and differences while learning to categorize and develop early literacy and numeracy skills. Learning about patterns is also beneficial for children because it helps them make predictions as they begin to understand what comes next. Patterns also facilitate a child’s cognitive development through learning how to make logical connections and practicing reasoning skills. We hope you enjoy this fun way to learn and play with nature.