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Fun seed game called...

 
gardener
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"toddler knocked over cups of saved seeds" and then "husband tripped over the remaining cups of seeds".

Anyone want to see how many seeds you can identify?
20240304_170310.jpg
I've been picking up seeds for 30 minutes now. The toddler thinks it's fun to jump back and forth as I do so over the top of the spilled seeds.
I've been picking up seeds for 30 minutes now. The toddler thinks it's fun to jump back and forth as I do so over the top of the spilled seeds.
 
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I recently made the mistake of leaving my seed storage box on the dining room table. Of course the toddler immediately notices it and wants to know what's in it. Seeds? He knows what seeds are and demands to see them. Well, of course I want to nurture his interest in gardening, but I also want to have seeds left to plant. First I think I can sell him on taking just a few seeds per envelope. This works with some careful coaching, and he's having a good time pushing them around the table and talking about sunflowers and pumpkins. I can sacrifice a few seeds, I have extras. But then, because he's a weirdly fastidious little dude, he wants to put the seeds back. Back in the correct envelopes, though? Good luck on making that happen with a 2.5 year old. I not only want to have some seeds left to plant, I want to have seeds that will grow into what the envelope says they are.

Luckily, after several nights of heartburn at dinner as the kid requests "I want to play with SEEDS" again, I hit upon a solution. It was time to clean out some old seeds of rejected varieties or too old to be viable. Two big handfuls of seed packets I no longer need? I know someone who could use those. So now my seed box is tucked safely back in the basement and the kid has his own seed collection that he is free to use. He's even getting pretty good at sealing the reusable envelopes back up. I'll thank myself for this later!
 
master steward
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Actually, one year at the local Agricultural Fair, someone brought a board game of seed ID of common vegetables. Things like chard, lettuce, beans, peas and many more.

If you make a point of saving seeds, I think you do learn better ID skills. I've saved seeds for a long time, and the lady who was manning the booth was pretty surprised when I put every little packet onto the board with decent confidence. Some seeds were tougher than others, so I did the "for sure" ones first. Chard and Spinach are quite similar, but the board only had a spot for the chard, so I was able to narrow some down that way.

You don't give an age on said toddler? Old enough to give them a cup and say, "find all the ones that look like this"?

Hopefully you can find a safer way to store your seeds after this experience!
 
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Corn, beet, various beans (a cranberry type, a navy type, and a kidney type?), safflower?, zinnia?
 
master steward
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Oh dear.....I think I'd just give up and have a polyculture! (and a cup of tea!)
 
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My solution would have been to make the Fun Seed Game with a toddler.

I don't know the age of the toddler though the toddler might have had fun picking the seeds up and putting them in the right container.

Ziplock bags might be in the future ...
 
Jenny Wright
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Ezra Beaton wrote:Corn, beet, various beans (a cranberry type, a navy type, and a kidney type?), safflower?, zinnia?


Ooh good job recognizing the safflower! I have artichoke seeds in there too and they were blending in with the safflower. Yes, corn and beets. There's also a lot of teeny tiny flowers seeds.
 
Jenny Wright
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Nancy Reading wrote:Oh dear.....I think I'd just give up and have a polyculture! (and a cup of tea!)


😂 Yes, I'm going to do that with the tiny flower seeds that are left after I pick up the bigger seeds. The flower seeds need to go out when it's cold and wet but the bigger seeds need heat or to be started inside.

There's poppy and balsam and a ton of dust sized wildflowers. Those will be swept up and tossed around the yard.
 
Jenny Wright
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Ian Young wrote:I recently made the mistake of leaving my seed storage box on the dining room table. Of course the toddler immediately notices it and wants to know what's in it. Seeds? He knows what seeds are and demands to see them. Well, of course I want to nurture his interest in gardening, but I also want to have seeds left to plant. First I think I can sell him on taking just a few seeds per envelope. This works with some careful coaching, and he's having a good time pushing them around the table and talking about sunflowers and pumpkins. I can sacrifice a few seeds, I have extras. But then, because he's a weirdly fastidious little dude, he wants to put the seeds back. Back in the correct envelopes, though? Good luck on making that happen with a 2.5 year old. I not only want to have some seeds left to plant, I want to have seeds that will grow into what the envelope says they are.

Luckily, after several nights of heartburn at dinner as the kid requests "I want to play with SEEDS" again, I hit upon a solution. It was time to clean out some old seeds of rejected varieties or too old to be viable. Two big handfuls of seed packets I no longer need? I know someone who could use those. So now my seed box is tucked safely back in the basement and the kid has his own seed collection that he is free to use. He's even getting pretty good at sealing the reusable envelopes back up. I'll thank myself for this later!



I've done this with my older kids. The funny thing is that the seeds I give them to plant that get randomly planted around the yard in the strangest places, those seeds often do wonderfully well!
 
Jenny Wright
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I was inspired by everyone's responses to give my youngest some seeds of her own to play with. My next oldest came to check it out and was proud of himself for knowing what most of the seeds were.
Toddler-seed-sorting-store.jpg
Toddler seed sorting store
Toddler seed sorting store
 
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Ian Young wrote: because he's a weirdly fastidious little dude, he wants to put the seeds back in the correct envelopes, though?



You may find that his exceptional fastidiousness is due to a very keen observation and that, but for lesser fine motor skills even this 2.5 years old person could put each seed back with it's kindred, given a few attention breaks.

I know a person who at a similar age could identify variations within an order such that at a museum a college teacher deferred his students (also visiting the museum) to the toddler as he was telling his nanny what each different thing was.
 
gardener
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Wonderful stories!

When my second child was 2 ish, he identified plants quite accurately.  He learned a lot of plants… garden plants, wild flowers and grasses, food plants, trees .  

I developed the theory that just as there is a “language acquisition “ phase in human development, there must be a similar phase where in we learn plant identification rapidly.

Why not?  Human survival (used to) drpend on developing this knowledge accurately and early.

We don’t hear about it from sociologists or human development professionals because they lack the plant knowledge themselves and very likely did not grow up in an environment or within a community that was plant fluent or plant centric.

Looks like permie children don’t have those deficits!
 
Jay Angler
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:We don’t hear about it from sociologists or human development professionals because they lack the plant knowledge themselves and very likely did not grow up in an environment or within a community that was plant fluent or plant centric.

Looks like permie children don’t have those deficits!

Long ago - some sort of anthropologist by training. Either way she told me that the reason many children don't like mushrooms is genetic ("more children who dislike mushrooms survive" type genetics) She said it was because mushrooms were so difficult to identify and because it was so easy to mix up poisonous vs non-poisonous. I'm not sure it's a wide-spread theory, but it did make some sense to me! She was a mom with 3 young children as well as a professional, so I think she had thought a lot about this.
 
Ian Young
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Barbara Kochan wrote:You may find that his exceptional fastidiousness is due to a very keen observation and that, but for lesser fine motor skills even this 2.5 years old person could put each seed back with it's kindred, given a few attention breaks.



It's true, I actually think he would do great at identifying like-with-like seeds. He seems to be pretty dialed in to that sort of detail. He's had a great time looking at the different sizes and shapes, and is already identifying a few types of seeds by name, which is pretty impressive (to me at least). Unfortunately, my seed collection has lots of different varieties within the same type of seed, which is where the parental heartburn set in. Even I am not that good!

At any rate, I'm not really complaining. I'm excited to get to share this with him. We've been talking about how planting works and I'm eager to get out into the garden with him once the weather warms a little more. He has a book about gardens and has been naming the vegetables he thinks we should plant: garlic, sunflowers, carrots, and watermelon. All good choices, except I had finally written off growing watermelon after too many years of poor results with our short growing season. Time to give Blacktail Mountain one more try, I guess.
 
Jenny Wright
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Ian Young wrote:
I had finally written off growing watermelon after too many years of poor results with our short growing season. Time to give Blacktail Mountain one more try, I guess.


We have gotten one or two kinda ripe blacktail watermelons during especially hot summers. My dad had more success using a sheet of plastic to make a low hoop house over his.

I would recommend trying a different melon too. My kids have LOVED growing sakata melons. They are a little larger than a baseball and get ripe and sweet even in our cool short summers as long as I start the seeds inside. And we get dozens of ripe ones from a couple of vines. We even had them ripen and sweeten during an unusually cold summer.
 
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