Today the children used loose parts and modeling clay to reinforce their knowledge of the location of seeds in various fruits. To add more dimensions to the activity, we placed the whole fruit, seeds of each fruit, and images of the fruit in front of the children with the modeling clay. This activity focuses on the children’s retelling skills and fine motor skills.
Surprisingly, retelling isn’t a skill that comes naturally; it’s something that has to be learned. Retelling is a powerful technique for checking understanding and reviewing information. Moreover, this activity involved the children’s fine motor skills, which are the small muscles of the body that enable functions like writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. An activity like this can help children gain more control of their fingers to better manipulate a pencil (leading to more legible handwriting), tie a bow on their shoes, and even maneuver a toothbrush.
As the children were recreating the fruits with clay, one child began talking about carrots and became curious to find out if carrots contain seeds. Another child mentioned to his classmates that apples do not contain seeds. This discussion is a great gateway for us to explore these two foods and include them in our seed study! Moreover, this discussion demonstrates how additional projects and activities come to life… through the children’s interests and direction.
Through this project, we also began planting the different types of seeds to observe them grow. Before planting each seed, the children conduct research on the computers to find how to plant each seed, how to care and nurture the plant, and the steps to take to ensure growth. The opportunity to conduct research on their own and create plans for these plants is rare among children this age. Instead of being told to water the plant 4 times a week, the children investigate the proper care, test their hypothesis and research, and ultimately develop a technique for gardening different plants. It’s amazing the level of competency and advanced understanding that takes place when you allow a child to learn for themselves instead of automatically telling or showing them!