Wednesday, November 2

15 Extension Activities for If You Plant a Seed

Welcome back to my new series of posts highlighting some of my very favorite, favorite books and the supplementary games, songs, and activities you could use with them. This could be useful for library programs, home schooling, or (of course) to just have fun with your kids! The first book I did was What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, and then Mother Bruce. Now I'll share ideas for...

First and foremost, Kadir Nelson's If You Plant a Seed is a shining example of gorgeous, realistic illustrations. The art in this book is my favorite favorite. And then on top of all that, it has a really important message about selflessness and working together. The harvest and gratitude themes make it a really great read for November. Really, it's a genius book and definitely one of my favorites (see my original review back here). Here are some activities that will appeal to its target audience of about 4 - 7 years. 

1. Plant a seed—I know. Big surprise here. It really almost goes without saying. Here's a great resource to get you started: planting a bean in a cup (from Peep and the Big Wide World). (photo from marajane)

2. Learn about photosynthesis—Do some research! What does a plant need to grow?

3. Make a delicious salad—Bonus points if you can use all of the foods originally mentioned in the book: cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots. 

4. Make a bird feeder—Here's this simple craft I did with cheerios and pipe cleaners that is great for the younger crowd and their fine motor skills. There are all sorts of ideas, though.

5. Field trip to a farm—Is there a farm nearby? See if they'll let you do a field trip and a little show and tell for all the different parts of the farm.

6. Go to a you-pick farm—Some places will let you pick produce from their farms, a great way to show kids where their food actually comes from. 

7. If you're feeling up to fight in the backyard!—Nothing like getting really, really messy. Here's a how-to from A Little Insanity (and their photo).

8. Sing your favorite farming songs—"Old McDonald" almost goes without saying, but you could also try these songs about planting seeds: "The Farmer Plants His Seeds" or...any of these preschool songs about gardening

9. Make a seed chart—Go on a scavenger chart for different seeds in your neighborhood. Glue them to a piece of paper and label them. 

10. Feathers craft—Glue some feathers to a piece of paper to create your own colorful birds. (image and idea from Katherine Marie)

11. Start your own compost bin—Using table scraps (nothing greasy or meaty), leaves, grass clippings, fruit & veggie scraps, and other such organic materials, you can use waste to create fertilizer for your garden. Here's some how-to's to get you started

12. Animal matching game—What are some of the animals included in this book? Print off double photos of some these animals to create your own memory game. 


13. Go bird watching—Are any of the birds in this book hanging around your neighborhood? 

14. Draw your dream garden—If you could grow any sorts of food, what would be in your garden? Bonus points for creative ideas like a jelly bean bush. 

15. Find more books about planting seeds and gardening—Some of my favorites include The Empty Pot, Planting a Rainbow, and My Garden (which would go really well with the "dream garden" art idea)


Whether you do one or all, I hope you have a lot of fun with these ideas to supplement If You Plant a Seed!

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