I know sunflowers are planted and grown all summer, but with their warm yellow and orange petals and hearty harvest of seeds to feed all manner of critters during the winter months, I always think of them as a fall bloom. I thought we’d explore these incredibly diverse plants this week for school…and maybe try to grow some mammoth sunflowers of our own (though anyone who knows me knows I am TERRIBLE at keeping plants alive…LoL). Fingers crossed! Here we GROW!
-Field of sunflowers letter matching: You can do this one in two ways- for my 5 year old (who knows most of his letters) I wrote stems with sunflower centers that had each capital letter he’s still mastering in them, then had him sticker the matching lower case letters around the center to make a sunflower. For my 2 year old (who is just learning his letters) I wrote each letter of his name in the sunflower centers and had him match them up (the letters were appropriately capitalized/lower case on the centers and stickers so he was matching capital to capital and lowercase to lowercase).
-Compound word practice: I introduced compound words to my 5 year old using sunflower as an example by explaining that they are long words made up of two smaller words put together. I gave him other examples and had him identify the two smaller words in each one.
-Sunflower letter match: I printed this sunflower letter match from Teachers Pay Teachers, laminated it, cut it out and had my littles take turns identifying each lower case letter then finding the sunflower upper case letter it went with.
-F is for flower: My littles both know letter S, so for this activity we opted to do F for flower (rather than S for sunflower- but either would fit!) I just wrote a large capital F for my 2 year old and both a capital and lower case F for my 5 year old and had them cover the letters with sunflower stickers I found on Amazon.
-All about sunflowers story: This week’s story topic was “All About Sunflowers”. Each day I had my little write a sunflower fact (in complete sentence form) then illustrate it. At the end of the week we stapled them to make a book. Some days I wrote the sentences for him then had him copy it while saying each letter in each word and other days I helped him sound them out as he wrote by himself.
-Sunflower book list:
-Sunflower petal number ordering: I think this was my favorite project this week! They turned out so pretty! Basically I made 10 larger petals for my 2 year old and 20 for my 5 year old, placed them around a brown circle and numbered them, mixed the numbers up, then had my littles glue them in order around the brown circle (I let them choose their background color). For my 5 year old, I organized the numbers into 2 sets- 1 to 10 and 11 to 20- to make it a bit more easy for him to find the ones he needed.
-Number recognition with counting: I wrote the numbers 1-20 on a page (1-10 on my toddler’s page) and had them practice counting while sticking a sunflower sticker on the correct number.
-Sunflower seed counting: I gave my 2 year old 10 sunflower seeds and my 5 year old a nice handful (which ended up being 112!) of sunflower seeds to count- give your little as many as you think would challenge them, but not so many they get frustrated. Then I showed them how to crack the shell with their teeth to get the seed out and we had some as a snack!
-Sunflower number and word match: I printed these sunflower word and number matching cards from Teachers Pay Teachers, laminated them, cut them out and laid out all the number cards on the table. Then I had my little sound out the number words (great letter/reading practice!) and match them to the digits.
-Sunflower seed adding: I printed this sunflower seed adding page from Teachers Pay Teachers then placed some seeds on each addend spot on the paper, had my little count them and write the addends then add the two numbers together by counting all the seeds. This page is great because you can tweak it according to your little’s adding ability! If they’re just starting out, use smaller numbers that equal 5 or less when added together. If they’ve been adding for awhile you can use larger numbers.
-Sunflower dissection: I got a few sunflowers from the grocery store and had my littles explore them by taking them apart. As they worked, we chatted about the plant parts they found (stem, leaves, flower, seeds) and what each one does for the plant. The stems were super wet inside which was really cool because you could tell they were for transporting water and we discovered the black part is actually made up of hundreds of micro flowers (is that even a thing?) with teeny stamens, pollen and seeds on each one!
-Diagram of a sunflower: I printed these diagram of a sunflower pages from Teachers Pay Teachers, had my littles color the parts of their flowers (I referred to our dissection from the day before and asked them what color each part was then had them color it accordingly which was a great review of the parts all on its own). Then I had them snip apart the words for the diagram and glue them in the correct places. My 5 year old sounded them out and identified the parts himself. I read the words for my 2 year old one by one, asked him where the part was, and showed him on the diagram where to glue it.
-Sunflower life cycle activities: I had my 5 year old sound out each stage of the sunflower’s life cycle (seed, sprout, seedling, young plant, bud and flower) and write them down. For my 2 year old I cut out the stages and had him identify and glue them in the correct order. I got the work pages from Teachers Pay Teachers.
-Plant sunflower seeds: We got some mammoth sunflower seeds from Amazon and planted a few in our front yard. It may be fall, but here in the south the summer sun is so intense it tends to kill all but the most sun loving plants (think peppers and okra), so I was thinking maybe a fall to winter crop would do better! We live where it seldom frosts, so I think they might grow! Fingers crossed!
-Sunflower facts graphic organizer: I drew a large sunflower and had my littles tell me what they know about sunflowers. I wrote their answers in the petals as a culminating activity for the end of the week.
-Sunflower parts craft with read seeds: I had my littles cut out large yellow circles, smaller black circles, stems and leaves then glue them together to make sunflowers. (I held the paper while my 2 year old used the scissors and cut out his leaves and stem…2 circles was enough practice for the day!) We added real sunflower seeds to the centers with wet glue as a fun finishing touch!
-Paper plate (or bowl) sunflowers: I meant to do these with paper plates but I only had one left so bowls it was! LoL If you do choose plates (I think it’ll come out cuter) you can have your little snip around the perimeter to make separate petals after the paint is dry. Basically, you just have them paint yellow (we added in a little orange to ours to make them more vibrant) around the edges, then give them black to swirl in the center.
-Finger print sunflowers: First I gave my littles brushes and green paint and showed them how to paint vertical lines for stems. Then I gave them yellow and orange paint and showed them how to use their finger to make a circle of dots at the top of each stem for petals. Last, I gave them brown and black and showed them how to swirl their finger in a circle to make a larger dot in the center of their circle of petals. They got a little creative- especially my toddler, but they had fun with it and that’s what matters at this age!
-Painting with a sunflower: Covered your table with packing paper, give your littles some paint and a sunflower each and let them explore painting with the flowers. I apologize that there’s no picture of this one and the next one (under “extras”). Our 13 year old kitty got sick so we had to take him to the vet and it turns out he has kidney failure so we were a tad busy with that. Life, am I right?
-Sunflower seed sensory play: Fill your sensory play bin with sunflower seeds and scooping utensils and let your littles scoop and play!
-Letter of the week: Dd, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice (I got this writing practice book because it includes letter practice and words for each letter). I had my younger little do this A practice page.
-Word of the week: it, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, writing practice (I downloaded and printed these sight word pages from Teachers Pay Teachers…it costed $6.50, but it has 200 pages of practice. I printed one for each word we’ll be studying this year.)
-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.
-Character trait of the month: Responsibility…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates responsibility I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “Oh wow! You put your plate in the sink and all of your trash in the trash can without being asked! That is SO responsible!”)
- sunflower stickers
- sunflower seeds (roasted and the kind you can plant)
- scooping utensils
- sunflowers (real for sure, fake as well if you like for sensory play or painting- we just used real)
- paper plate (or bowl)