Way back when my kids were all in preschool I frequented the Dollar Store section of Target all the time. They had all manner of fun projects in there, and I probably spent more money than I should have. One cool item I bought was a series of miniature terracotta pots that came with seed packets and an expandable dirt disk (just add water) for growing all manner of herbs in your kitchen. Of course, I promptly managed to both over and underwater all of the plants, so they all died a horrible death, but I knew these pots would be useful for something, so I hung onto them. Then we hit the botany section of My Father’s World kindergarten and I knew what those pots were destined for a great seed sorting activity for preschool (or kindergarten), and all manner of extra activities.
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Supplies for the seed sorting activity
I don’t think Target sells those little kits anymore, and I’ve found buying the pots is actually a better use of funds, the seeds I picked up at our local HEB by feeling every single seed packet for the biggest seeds I could find.
Get it on Amazon and skip the searching; mini terracotta pots, multi pack of seeds (I got the cheapest seeds I could find, this would be great if you’re doing this in a classroom setting because there’s a whole bunch of them), bowls (I’m kinda in love with clear glass bowls right now for storage)
How to set up the preschool seed sorting activity
In the middle of the area set up a glass bowl with a generous helping of several different seeds. Each kid doing the activity will need several of the terracotta pots. When I first set up the pots I circled the bowl holding the seeds, but once Princess started playing with it, I quickly decided that wasn’t working.
This is where you can individualize the activity depending on what skill you’re working on. This is great for a Montessori set-up because you could give them tweezers, spoons, scoops, all manner of things to try sorting the seeds (this fine motor tools set would be great for this).
For our purposes, I had them sort the seeds into the different pots using their fingers, and we talked about the different shapes and textures of the seeds.
Learning skills for the seed sorting activity
I already mentioned the fine motor skills you could learn doing this activity. It’s really great for the pincher grip that you’ll be using for writing and strengthening their finger muscles. Obviously, at 11, this isn’t really something my daughter needs right now, but she still was intrigued when I set it up.
After they have sorted the seeds into the different types you can then match the seed types to the plant it will grow.
Then sort the plants into what type of plant it is. Will the plant yield fruits or vegetables? Maybe some flowers?
Now sort the seeds by size and have them describe the seeds. Are they round or flat? Is the seed bumpy? What color are the seeds? Try sorting the seeds by color. Do you notice any similarities between seed types and the colors of the seeds?
What other activities would you do with this seed sorting kit?
I actually wrote about our seed sorting activity and rebought it all to write about it because as I went through all of our old botany posts I kept finding references to a seed sorting kit, but I never wrote about it. I had to fix that.