Winter | Plants: Infants & Toddlers

Cold Creations: Seed Art

Summary: In winter, our senses can become deprived. We no longer hear the sound of birds, smell the dirt, or see the vibrant colors of flowers. Let’s bring a little color and sound to our senses by creating mosaic seed art. 

Before Visiting the Garden: 

  • Gather: Seeds of all shapes, sizes, and colors, cardstock, tempera paint, pencil, paint brushes, glue, and small containers with lids for sorting and shaking. 
  • Explore: Images of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Pay particular attention to the colorful exterior mosaics. 
  • Read: Pezzittino by Leo Lionni

In the Garden: 

The garden can feel empty in winter. But winter is an essential pause in the cycle of growing and tending. It is a time for the garden to catch its breath while we, the gardeners, begin to prepare for spring. We can bring a little energy and noise to the garden with a winter seed project. 

Questions to Explore:

  • What colors can you find in the garden? 
  • What noises do you hear? 
  • Can you make some sounds? Hint: stomp on some ice, squeak your boot in the snow, or rustle some dry leaves  
  • Are there any other sights or sounds that you see/hear in winter that are different than the sights and sounds of summer?  


    1. Depending on the temperature in the garden, you can do this activity in the garden or head home to get creative. If it is warm enough to take gloves off, begin by sorting the seeds you brought into the different containers. You can sort by color, shape, size, or texture. Grasping the small seeds is a great activity for your little gardener as they practice that important pincer grip. 
    2. Once you have your seeds sorted, put lids on the containers and spend a little time practicing different rhythms and beats with your shakers, filling the garden with a little joyful noise. 
    3. Next, grab your cardstock and pencil. Outline a simple design with input from your gardener. Take the glue and begin affixing the seeds onto your picture. You can add additional brightness to your seed mosaic by painting over the seeds with the tempera paint. 

 Beyond the Garden | Share the Love, or Seeds!

It may be too cool to plant any seeds in the soil but you can make a bird very happy by sharing your seed bounty with this simple feeder: forage a pinecone. Tie a string around the pinecone, then slather it with peanut butter (or lard, if your gardener has allergies), and roll the pinecone through birdseed. Hang it outside your window, and enjoy the birds that come for a winter feast. 

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials

Use this resource to identify any birds that come for a visit:

Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.