Exploring Seeds

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My goal with this project was to show Travis the life cycle of a seed, from dried and hard, to sprouting its first green shoot. Alas, it didn’t entirely work out, but we still had fun!

We started out simple, feeling the bean seeds both before and after we soaked them in water for about an hour.

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It was very cool how quickly the skins become wrinkly.

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The next morning, the beans were soft enough to split apart with a finger. Travis was really interested in how the soaked beans looked compared to a new set of dried ones – much softer and nearly twice the size.

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Select several of your soaked seeds to sprout (not any of the ones you have split in half). Line a mason jar with a paper towel on the bottom, and add about 1 inch of water, swirling to soak the paper towel. Repeat until the paper towel is completely wet and you have about 1 inch of water above it. Add your seeds, placing them between the wet paper towel and the side of the jar.

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Now place it some place sunny and wait!

Whether because we’ve had very gray weather and little direct sunlight or because I have no green thumb and drowned our beans, I can’t say… but one way or another, our beans disintegrated instead of sprouting. I will try a different method next time, but this was still a neat nature lesson for a toddler!

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Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossils

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Ok, this is our last dinosaur project for a while, I promise! But I’ve become a big fan of salt dough lately, and Travis never tires of mixing flour and water, so we gave this project a quick go!

In a bowl or basin, have your child combine the following:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

Mix with your hands, and add more flour if it seems too sticky. Show your child how to knead the dough – a neat little lesson if you ever intend to bake bread with them later on!

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Then it was time to roll our dough out. We rolled ours a bit too thin – aim for 1/2-inch thick for the best dinosaur imprints.

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Cut circles from the dough with a cookie cutter, and then press toy plastic dinosaurs into the dough to leave an imprint. Travis loved using the cookie cutter to make circles within circles, while I set aside our finished “fossil” imprints.

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We let our fossils air-dry this time around, although you can speed up the process in the oven.

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Now your budding archaeologist can dig up dino fossils any time he or she likes!