Encourage kids to learn about the parts of a sunflower with this simple and engaging Investigating Sunflowers Fine Motor Tray!
Every year without fail we plant a garden that the kids help with from start to finish. This year my rambunctious toddler was all to eager to help. As the garden began to grow we started finding plants we did not plant popping up here and there.
A pumpkin growing along the side of the garage, a couple of kale plants around the mailbox, some Swiss chard in the front flower bed, and sunflowers everywhere.
This sunflower fine motor challenge was an excellent way to get some hands on exploration of the parts of a sunflower! And maybe an excellent excuse to use the gazillion sunflowers currently taking over our yard 😉
Investigating Sunflowers with Kids
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- 1-2 Sunflower Seed Heads (these do not need to be dried)
- Fine Motor Tweezers (we love these ones)
- Sturdy Plastic Tray (these trays from IKEA are our favorite)
- Sharp Knife (for adult use only)
- Recommended Book: A Sunflower’s Life
Optional: Add in some sunflower buds (flowers that did not bloom) for dissection!
Setting up this activity is ridiculously easy. We simple walked out into the garden and cut a couple flowers off right below the receptacle. After harvesting our sunflowers we washed them off outside to get all the little bugs out.
Then we simply put them on a tray and started exploring the different parts of our sunflowers!
To add a fine motor challenge to this simple activity we used fine motor tweezers to pluck out the sunflower seeds and count them! The sunflowers we used did not have mature seeds. When we do this activity again we will definitely be trying with dried sunflower heads to make the fine motor element a tad easier.
Note: Head over here to snag a sunflower life cycle and sunflower counting card printables to use with this activity!
Sunflower Facts for Kids
Before you begin exploring your sunflowers, here are some interesting facts to know!
1. A sunflower is not just a single flower. Instead they are composite flowers. The large dark middles, called inflorescence, of a sunflower are actually composed of thousands of tiny individual flowers. This makes them a haven for bees collecting pollen. These tiny flowers are called disc florets.
2. Once the disc florets are pollinated by bees they mature into seeds!
3. The outer petals of of a sunflower are called ray florets.
4. The base of a sunflower head is called the receptacle. Have an adult use a serrated knife to slice the sunflower in half and examine the inside of the sunflower!
If your not doing this activity right this second with your child, pin this post so you can easily find it later!