Summer Arts & Crafts #5 – Seed Pictures

Fall is fast approaching and many plants – including grasses and flowers – are going to ‘seed’. The fancy growing/blooming season of the plant is finished and now seeds are developing within the matured blooms. These seeds are the offsprings of the plant, keeping the species alive and creating future generations. Seeds come in all sizes, shapes and colors – some of them look like alien creatures!
 
The following activity is adapted from the book: Play Lightly on the Earth: Nature Activities by Jacqueline Horsfall, and the activity “Seed Socks.” I’ve added an artistic element.

Horsfall says: “One way that seeds are carried from place to place is by hitch-hiking – hooking onto the fur of passing animals. Other means of seed dispersal include: floating through the air and being carried by the wind (like dandelions, milkweeks and maple tree “wings”), or popping out of the parent plant and shooting distances away (like violets and witch hazel). Floating seeds (coconuts) fall to the sand and get swept out to sea, taking root on other beaches. Tumbleweeds roll with the wind, dropping seeds as they go along. When an animal eats fruit, the seeds inside get a free ride and are “planted” when the animal leaves its droppings. The droppings help fertilize the seedling as it grows.”

In today’s activity, we make use of items that we’ve pick up when walking through fields, lawns or other areas where plants live.

FIRST: COLLECT THE SEEDS

Get ready!
You need:
Old pair of big white fuzzy socks. (It’s okay if they have holes!)
A magnifying glass

Get set!
Put the socks on over your shoes

Go!    
1. Walk or run through tall grass or a field, particularly one full of seed-bearing plants (like dandelion puffballs)
2. Stop and look at your socks. Name some of the things that are stuck to them.
(Seeds – including burrs, grass, twigs)
3. Keep moving until your socks are covered with seeds and other plant life.
4. Go back to your starting place. Carefully take off the socks.

SECOND: CREATE YOUR MASTERPIECE

You need:
A large cloth (an old tablecloth, towel or sheet works well.)
Glue or tape
Colored construction paper for your final design

1. Shake or pull the seeds and other things off of the socks, letting them fall onto the tablecloth, sheet or towel.
2. Sort the seeds, grass, twigs, etc., into piles. Then, looking at the groups you have already sorted, arrange the items by size and shape. For the smallest seeds, use the magnifying glass to group together items that are like one another.
2. Use your imagination to create a design using the seeds and other materials you have collected. Your design could be exclusively of seeds, or you might use some twigs and grass pieces to add interest.
3. Carefully transfer your created design to the colored construction paper.
4. Glue each piece of seed, grass or twig to the construction paper. (You can also use tape, but the final effect is not quite as pleasing.)
5. Once your design is finished, be sure to write the date, your name and the location where you collected the items on the final design paper.

(optional) THIRD: NATURE STUDY

Finally, using your magnifying glass and a plant field guide, determine what plant the seeds came from! This isn’t always easy, as some of the seeds are very tiny. You may need field guides for trees, grasses, flowers and even roadside weeds to provide answers to the identities of all of the seeds you collected.

If you’d like, create a plant key, writing the name of the plants in a list to the side of your artwork, and including  an example of the seed that came from that plant.

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