Seed Mosaics

The children will investigate seeds.

Birds Nest

Lesson Objective

The children will discover the characteristics of seeds and use the seeds to create a picture.


What You'll Need

  • magnifying glasses – 1 per child
  • paper towels
  • small paper plates – 4 per child
  • large paper plates – 1 per child
  • glue – 1 bottle per child
  • a variety of seeds – enough for each child to make a collage of seeds on their poster board
  • poster board cut into a maximum of 8” x 10” sheets

What To Do

Note: Pre-cut the poster board so each child has a maximum of an 8” x 10” sized sheet with which to work. Be sure to provide a wide variety of seeds with different colors, patterns, and textures. Small fingers handle large seeds more easily than small seeds.

  1. Provide each child with one of each type of seed on their paper towel and a magnifying glass. Place the remaining seeds in a pile on a large paper plate.
  2. Explain to the children that they are going to examine what is on the paper towel, and then use them to make a picture.
  3. Give children a few minutes to examine the seeds, and then ask them to describe what is on their paper towels (see Guiding Student Inquiry and Did You Know?).
  4. Distribute a large plate of seeds for each child and the small paper plates to use to sort their seeds.
  5. Have the children sort their seeds; allow them to lead the sorting, such as large seeds, small seeds, seeds with more than one color, and seeds that are all one color.
  6. As they are sorting their seeds, ask children how they are sorting their seeds – by color, shape, size, pattern, or texture (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  7. Guide the discussion about the seeds by having children share with classmates how they sorted their seeds.
  8. Distribute poster board and glue to the children.
  9. Tell the children that they will now have a turn to create a picture using their seeds and glue.
  10. Allow children to create a picture by gluing the seeds on the poster board.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe what is on the paper towel.
  • Explain what seeds are used for (see Did You Know?).
  • Explain how you sorted your seeds.
  • Can you tell me another way you can sort your seeds?
  • Describe the differences between the different seeds.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Put extra seeds and magnifying glasses in the science area for further discovery.
  • Have students categorize seeds by shape, color, or texture.
  • Some children may notice their seeds can be sorted into more than one category. This is a good observation; have them explain to you why this is so.
  • In your art center provide additional seeds, glue, and poster board.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe the outside of the seeds?
  • Could children describe the differences between the different seeds?
  • Could children sort the seeds into piles according to size, texture, or color?
  • Was each child able to make a picture using the seeds?


Did You Know?

Although most seeds are tiny and may seem insignificant, seeds are incredibly powerful. Seeds are a source of food for humans and animals. A small handful of tiny wheat seeds can produce a whole field of wheat. A tiny half inch long little acorn can become a huge oak tree. A beautiful apple tree started life as a small apple seed. There are hundreds of thousands of different types of seeds, and many of them are used to grow food for humans to eat. Seeds are plentiful and are an important part of everyday life. Seeds come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some seeds are smooth to the touch; others are bumpy. Seeds have an outer layer called a seed coat. Its job is to protect the baby plant on the inside. The seed coat also stores nutrients for the seedling. Some seed coats are thin and soft while others are thick and hard.

Making mosaics is an ancient art form. Early mosaics were made from bits of tile and glass that were arranged in interesting designs. Seed Art is a contemporary form of mosaic art, but instead of tile and glass, seeds from crops, flowers, or fruits are used to make a design. There are many artists who are known for creating seed art portraits. Probably the most famous artist who used seeds to create portraits was Lillian Colton. Her portraits included famous people such as Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, and President Barack Obama.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • seed – the small part of a plant with flowers that grows into a new plant.
  • pattern – an arrangement of shapes, lines, letters, numbers, or colors that can be repeated or used again and again.
  • sort – to put into groups.
  • same – exactly alike; not at all different.
  • different – not the same.
  • mosaic – a picture made with many small, colored pieces of glass, tile, or stone.

Lesson Tips

  • Try to provide large seeds for their mosaics, because they are easier for children to work with. Choose seeds similar in size to pumpkin seeds, such as lima bean seeds, sunflower seeds, kidney bean seeds, and fennel seeds. Take care not to use seeds that are too small; children will not be able to pick them up.
  • Saving seeds from apples and oranges eaten at snack time, purchasing a bag of mixed beans for soup, and purchasing sesame seeds are some inexpensive ways to get a nice assortment of seeds.


  • What Kinds of Seeds Are These? by Heidi Bee Roemer
  • All About Seeds by Susan Kuchalla
  • Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS