STREAM Activity: Seed Dispersal
Learn how plants and flowers grow through seed dispersal!
Activity best for children ages 2 and up
Our beautiful planet earth is full of wonderful trees, flowers, and plants. We see them everywhere and every day! Have you ever wondered how all those trees, flowers, and plants grow in so many different places? Today, we will get to learn about how seeds are dispersed, which means how seeds move and spread around so that they can grow in new places. We are going to discover three ways seeds are dispersed by making three different traveling seeds!
Some seeds are spread by the wind blowing them away to a new patch of soil where they can grow – have you ever seen a seed that looks like a helicopter, like in the first picture below? This seed is spread by the wind! Other seeds have tiny little spikes that help them stick on to an animal’s fur or a human’s clothing, so they get carried to another place to grow – have you ever walked through some tall grass and found a burr stuck to your socks when you get home, like in the second picture? This seed is spread by animals or people! Then there are seeds that are light and able to float to new places, like the coconut in the third picture. These seeds are spread by water! Now that we’ve learned about the ways seeds can be dispersed, let’s make our very own traveling seeds.
1 piece of paper
4-8 paper clips
Play-doh, Model Magic, or clay
A pipe cleaner, straw, or stick
Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
A recyclable container (bowl, plate, etc.)
How do plants grow?
Why is it important for plants to spread their seeds?
What are some ways plants can spread their seeds to new places?
Today, we’re going to make three different seeds! Gather the materials you’ll need to create your seeds.
The first seed we’ll make is a seed that is dispersed by wind! Grab your piece of paper, scissors, a drawing utensil, and a paper clip.
Draw your seed, using the red-outlined shape in the corresponding photo as a guide.
Cut out your seed shape and fold each prong along the dotted line in opposite directions. Attach the paper clip on the section of paper between the two folded prongs.
Your first seed is complete. Hold your seed up high and drop it – watch it spin to the ground as the wind carries it to a new place to grow!
(Note: if it doesn’t spin much, try removing the paper clip to make it lighter!)
The second seed we’ll make is a seed that is dispersed by animals and people! Grab your Play-Doh, Model Magic, or clay and 3-5 paper clips.
Using a small to medium-sized portion of your Play-Doh material, roll it into a ball (save an equal amount of Play-Doh for your third seed).
Make sure you have a parent or guardian for this step! Take your 3-5 paper clips and straighten them out. The ends can be sharp, so be careful.
Carefully, stick each paper clip through your ball of Play-Doh, Model Magic, or clay until the paper clips are sticking out evenly on each side.
Your second seed is complete! Seeds that are spread by animals or people have small spikes, just like your paper clips, that help the seed attach to fur, hair, or clothes so an animal or person carries the seed to a new place.
The third seed we’ll make is a seed that is dispersed by water! Grab your leftover paper and Play-doh, a recyclable container, tape, scissors, coloring utensils, and a pipe cleaner, straw, or stick.
Using your scissors, cut out a triangle from your leftover paper. This will become a sail for the boat that will carry your seed!
Using your coloring utensils, decorate your paper sail and recyclable container.
Grab your tape and pipe cleaner, straw, or stick. Tape your paper sail to the pipe cleaner, straw, or stick. Then, tape the bottom of the pipe cleaner, straw, or stick to the bottom of your recyclable container so that your sail stands upright. The boat for your seed is now complete!
Roll your leftover Play-Doh, Model Magic, or clay into a ball to create your seed. Place the seed in your recyclable material boat.
Your third seed is complete! Place your boat into a full sink or bathtub to see it float – waves and currents in the water will take your seed to a new place to grow!
Grown Ups-Are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!
Real World Connections
Seeds are important because new plants grow from them! Today we learned that seeds can be dispersed by wind, animals and people, and water. Another way seeds can be spread is when we plant them in our gardens! Some seeds grow into tasty fruits and vegetables, or even the seed itself is delicious. If you like to snack on pumpkin or sunflower seeds, think about helping that seed spread by planting it in a garden to grow a new pumpkin or sunflower plant!