Building food literacy in children is about helping them understand how food grows and can be a great way to connect with nature. If you cannot get out into the garden, you can bring the world of nature and scientific exploration into the classroom on rainier days or for quieter craft times. In this activity, children can use seeds to create a beautiful collage that they can put up on the wall or take home. While manipulating seeds, young children use their senses and fine motor skills.
Learning about seeds:
Most plants, including all of our food plants, start from seeds that go into small holes in the ground and need sunlight and water to grow. Seeds are how plants reproduce or “make babies”. Sometimes plants do this on their own in nature and sometimes people plant seeds like in gardens or on farms. Just like plants, seeds come in so many shapes and sizes. We can use our senses to explore seeds that are round or long, small or large, hard or soft, firm or fuzzy. Although people do eat different types of seeds, this activity is not about tasting. Some seeds like watermelon and sunflower seeds are common choking hazards in children 4 and under.
Create the craft:
Organize a variety of different seeds into bowls so children can get help picking a few from each to display on their collage. Give each child a large, light-coloured background to work with, like cardstock or construction paper. Cover the surface of the background for the child with clear glue or podge. Children can create a collage with their own imagination, or we can give them guidance with an example or a picture that they try to recreate.
Seeds are important to our planet so we do not want to waste them but there can be opportunities to collect ones that would otherwise not be planted in the ground. Collect seeds from fruits and vegetables you are preparing like watermelon and squash. Ask families and community members, garden centres and grocery stores whether they have expired seeds that could be donated. If real seeds cannot be collected, show pictures or samples to children and ask them to draw or paint their collage of seeds.