Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children- The air is crisp and the leaves are dropping off the trees like crazy. Its safe to say that Fall is in full swing, yay!

selective focus photography of person holding brown acorns
Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Fall is a wonderful season for partaking in many different family outings and activities. From pumpkin patches to apple orchards, and brilliantly colouful hikes- there are countless opportunities for learning about nature with your children during this time of year.

But seeds?

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with children

In our house, seeds make a huge appearance in early Spring as we start our garden veggies indoors. And by huge I mean temporarily-relocating-our-dining-room-set-to-the-living-room huge, to give the indoor greenhouse access to prime window space.

So although our daughter Amelia is just under 3 years old, she’s fairly familiar with seeds and their importance in our lives.

Planting seeds, sowing seedlings into the garden and nurturing them as they grow into plants has been a fun experience for our family. And although Spring is a great time for your children to learn about seeds, Fall offers an entirely different (but equally important) aspect of seed exploration.

Seedlings in the indoor greenhouse
Checking in on the growing seedlings

In Fall, many plants make and disperse their seeds so that new plants can grow the following year.

Seeds are the theme of the first week in the Exploring Nature with Children nature study, which we are following along with our children. My youngest is 9 months old, but you are never too young (or old for that matter) to learn about the natural world and all it encompasses.

Exploring seeds this past week with my little ones has been fun and educational. We learned so much about the seeds in our own backyard and would like to share our experience.

Picking wildflowers who's blooming
 days are through
Picking wildflowers who’s blooming
days are through

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children

Cooler Weather

The season of heat and humidity has ended and we are welcoming a much appreciated break from the mosquitoes. Fall is the perfect time to go out on a nature walk to discover the different types of seeds that are present in your neighbourhood.

Picking crab apples for seed collection
Adding crab apples to our seed collection on our nature walk

From acorns to maple keys, it isn’t difficult to find a variety of seeds right now. We went on a few nature walks and collected as many different seeds as we could find. Amelia loved running through the forest with her collection bag, adding to it as we went along.

By the time we made it back home, we had an impressive collection of nuts, berries, apples, cones, milkweed, and all kinds of seeds from wildflowers.

Stunning Views

Here’s an obvious one, but something that literally cannot be overlooked! The colours that have painted the landscape in the way of deciduous leaves are incredible, and something that should be experienced by all.

While out on our nature walks collecting seeds, the Fall colours were all around and served as a great way to incorporate colour identification with our toddler.  

Discovering the Fall colours
Discovering the Fall colours

They’re Everywhere!

Seeds are all around us. It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural setting or in a large City, seeds are everywhere during the Fall season. Squirrels carrying nuts outside your window, dandelion fluff floating on the Autumn breeze.

Discovering seeds with your little ones is easy to do and can be done anywhere!

blossom blur close up dandelion
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Another interesting point is that seeds found in your backyard are likely different than the types found in your neighbour’s yard. We primarily have deciduous trees on our property, but while walking down our road we found many different conifer cones.

All Shapes and Sizes

After collecting an array of seeds from our neighbourhood, we laid them out on a table and examined what we found. There were many different shapes, sizes and textures!

Amelia helped sort the seeds into similar groupings and then we used cardstock and glue to display the treasures we found. We then got a little fancy and made a “seed bird”. I drew the outline of the bird and Amelia helped to fill it in with the different seeds.

Displaying our seed collection and making artwork!
Displaying our seed collection and making artwork!

It’s Harvest Time!

With Fall comes the season of harvest! We’ll be exploring the Harvest Moon in an upcoming post but have started to enjoy Fall harvest foods already.

We used a freshly picked apple to make a fan favourite around here- apple donuts! It’s just a sliced, cored apple with some sort of topping. We went for classic cinnamon this time, but sometimes we level-up with peanut butter frosting and hemp heart “sprinkles”.  

After coring the apple, we worked on fine motor skills by removing the apple seeds from the core using tweezers and counting how many seeds there were.  (7 by the way).

Making apple donuts and removing the seeds with tweezers
Making apple donuts and removing the seeds with tweezers

The Season of Snuggling

If you ask me, Fall is the coziest of the seasons and a great time to snuggle up with a good book. Each week as I plan for the upcoming week’s theme, I set aside books from our own collection that correspond with the theme. A few books we read this week are

Dispersal is Happening

Seeds are dispersed in 4 different ways: By the plant itself, by animals, by water and by the wind. Many of these dispersal methods are occurring in the Fall. We noted different methods of seed dispersal happening in our yard.

  • We watched a squirrel bury a nut
  • Pulled a few burrs off our pant legs and identified the plant responsible
  • Blew the fluff off a couple dandelions and cat tails
  • Noticed the tomato plant growing in the compost pile…
adorable animal autumn claws
Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

Hearty Meals and Tasty Treats

Fall is probably one of the best food seasons (hello, pumpkin spice). With squash and apples in an abundance, there are lots of opportunities to explore seeds in the foods we enjoy in Fall.

We love to cook and bake, and Amelia loves to help with our creations. We harvested our squash this week and made a bomb curry butternut squash soup. Amelia helped to scoop the “guts” out of the squash and prepare the seeds to save for planting next year.

As a treat, we made chocolate chia seed pudding. This recipe is so easy that my almost 3 year old was able to make it with little assistance. (The hardest part is waiting for it to be ready to eat!)

Measuring ingredients for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Measuring ingredients for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serving Size:
2
Time:
5 minutes
Difficulty:
Easy!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (we used homemade coconut milk)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbs cacao powder

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a jar and shake!
  2. Let sit for 2 minutes, then mix or shake again until chia seeds are clump-free
  3. Cover the jar and place in the fridge overnight (or at least a few hours)
  4. Top with your favourite toppings if desired and enjoy!
brown liquid in cup
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

So, there you have it. You now know why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with children! Its been fun learning about seeds with my little ones this week and I’m happy to be able to share our experiences with you. Be sure to check out my first blog post if you haven’t already How to Make Exploring Nature with Little Ones Fun!

Amelia’s quite interested in the world of seeds, so she seemed to really enjoy the activities we did over the week.

We’ll find out in a couple weeks if her interest remains after she helps us plant 300 garlic cloves for next year’s harvest!

braided garlic harvest
This year’s garlic harvest!

What is your family’s favourite way of discovering seeds in the Fall season?

Be sure to follow play and pinecones on Instagram and Pinterest!

How to Make Exploring Nature with Little Ones Fun!

Welcome to the first blog post on play and pinecones– I’m Christine!

My goal here is to inspire parents with ideas for nature based play and activities by sharing our family’s journey of raising two little ones in a natural lifestyle. 

Amelia exploring nature
Amelia exploring the Trilliums

If you are looking to: 

  • Explore nature with your young children but are unsure where to start. 
  • Find inspiration for fun and simple activities. 
  • Teach your little ones about the natural world through play. 
  • Get some fresh air and connect with nature.
  • Foster your child’s (and your own!) sense of wonder.

Then it sounds like we are on a similar path and you are in the right place! 

Forget the flashcards! My weekly blog posts will focus on simple ways to incorporate nature into your child’s life.

Here are a few ways we make exploring nature with our little ones fun!

Follow a Nature Study Curriculum

There are several great nature based curriculums available to work through with your children. We have recently started the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum with our toddler, Amelia. She’s just under three years old, so we are taking a fairly casual approach, but are really enjoying it!

Be sure to subscribe to play and pinecones to follow along as I document our weekly adventures.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Make a list or draw pictures of different creatures/items found in nature. Then go out and find them! This is a neat thing to do while experiencing the changing of seasons into Autumn by incorporating different coloured leaves in your hunt. 

Create Artwork

Use items collected on a nature walk to create a masterpiece! Amelia is very interested in letters right now, so we also make artwork that spells out her name.

Do an Activity Together

Set up an activity that demonstrates a natural concept. Fill a bucket of water to see whether sticks and leaves sink or float, or play doorway spiderweb and see what you can catch! I often set up a quick activity like this for when baby Brooks is napping, as it provides a (somewhat) quiet project for Amelia and I to do.

painter’s tape spiderweb game

Go for a Walk

Go out and explore the land around you. We live on a small acreage of mixed forest and field and are out daily making new discoveries on our own property. We talk about different landmarks as we go and Amelia has become familiar with the different types of plants and animals found in our own backyard.

It doesn’t have to be formal. Many of our “hikes” are just a trek down to the compost bin. Whether you live in a rural area or in a large city- nature is everywhere, so get out and explore!

Read a Book

As I mentioned above, we are following the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum which is broken down into weekly themes. Each week I set aside books from our own collection that coincide with the weekly theme. Some of our favourite nature inspired books are Compost Stew, Some Bugs and Winter Dance

Make Something Delicious

I love to cook and bake and Amelia loves helping! She usually helps pour ingredients, mix batter and is the best spoon licker I’ve ever met. We try to make creations that go with our weekly theme.

Seed week- chocolate chia seed pudding, Bug week- ants on a log. You get the drift. Follow play and pinecones on Instagram for tasty inspiration.

Just be Outdoors

Do all the crafts and activities, but also try to leave time for some good unstructured play outside. Much of our exploring happens when we don’t plan anything at all. Being out in the fresh air is revitalizing for us and our kiddos- so let’s get outside!

A Little About Me

I’m a mother of two, new blogger and lifelong lover of the natural world. My passion began when I was a child, and grew as I became interested in birding and devoted much of my career to animal rescue and wildlife rehabilitation. My dream is to raise our children with the same appreciation for the environment and to share our journey with other like-minded families. 

That’s a little about me, now comment below how you explore nature with your family. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get notifications of new posts and follow play and pinecones on Instagram and Pinterest.

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