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Sunflower Exploration for Toddlers

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

If you or someone you know grew a sunflower this summer, this activity is for you!

It is fun, educational and provides a rich sensory experience perfect for kids of all ages! I love this activity because you could do it at home with 1 or 2 kids or in a classroom with a group of kids and it would be just as fun.

My daughter spent the summer watering the sunflowers every morning, watching and waiting for them bloom, measuring them and waving "hi" to all the honeybees doing their business.

These amazing sunflowers in our backyard got to be 10.5ft tall and 1ft in circumference... they were h.u.g.e. But I promise smaller ones would be just as fun!

I'm worried I'm going to get some backlash because I could have left these up a little longer for the bees.. but we had several and I only cut down 2, it started frosting at night and they were so heavy they were tilting pretty hard... and it was a lot of fun.

The bin I set out had chickpeas, a scoop and container. To match the theme I dyed a handful of chickpeas yellow (click here to see how to dye sensory bases), but I realized it wasn't nearly enough to fill the bin, oops. So regular chickpeas went on the bottom and dyed ones on top.

My daughter played with the chickpeas for a minute while she got used to the new environment. She had just woken up and come outside from a nap, and since the goal is exploring I didn't want to rush or pressure her to the sunflowers. Slowly she started to feel the sunflowers; she felt how soft the pedals were and started taking the center apart. Once she started it didn't take long for her to be grabbing handfuls of seeds and pedals to mix into her pretend chickpea soup and pour in and out of her containers.

It can be really hard with a fun activity, that we are excited for, to sit back and go at the child's pace. The best, most authentic learning happens when the child is interested and feels safe to explore, not rushed with expectations.

We have this super cute Honey Comb Lick Mat for my dog, and small container that looks like a honey pot from the thrift store (I usually store my jewelry in it on my nightstand) which were the perfect addition to this themed activity. However, all you really need to have a great time is a sunflower.

It is very rare to find an activity that can hold her attention for more than a few minutes, but this was between 30-45 minutes of learning, playing and exploring. From set up to clean up she was interested. She (helped me) cut down the flowers all the way to helping sweep up the patio, she was into it.

If you try this activity I would love to see/hear how it went on Instagram @PrairieMamasBlog!!

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