Seed Dispersal Lesson for Kids: Facts & Methods

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

Have you ever looked at all the plants, trees and flowers outside and wondered how they all got there? This lesson will teach you the ways seeds travel from their parent plant.

Pack Your Bags

Just like people travel to visit relatives or go on vacation, seeds travel too. They just travel for very different reasons, and they never need to pack a suitcase. So why do seeds travel? Well, all plants make seeds, and those seeds have one simple job -- to make a new plant. Plants want their seeds to spread out and see the world, not just drop to the ground and grow at their feet.

Since seeds don't have legs to walk on or seed cars or seed planes to travel around in, they have to find other ways to travel away from their parents. So they get clever and use the world around them to get to their destination.

Dandelion seeds use the wind to travel from their parent plant.
Seeds Dandelions

The Journey of the Seeds

Seeds can use wind to travel away from their parent plant. Some seeds, like those from an oak tree, can catch the wind and float on the breeze, much like we can catch a plane to Disney World. Depending on the strength of the breeze, the seeds can travel a decent distance away from their parent. Dandelion seeds are a perfect example of seeds that travel using the wind. Have you ever picked up a dandelion and blown on it to make a wish? If so, you've sent those seeds on the dandelion head scattering, helping them to get farther away.

Seeds can also travel by water just like we can ride in a boat. Seeds drop to the ground and get caught in streams, lakes, oceans and water runoff. The seeds are designed to float and will drift until they find a new home to grow. Coconuts are giant seeds made to float on the gentle ocean waters and begin new plants where they wash up.

This coconut is a seed that travels by floating on the ocean and washing up on another shore.
Coconut Seed

Seeds can travel by sticking on animals. Some types of seeds are made to stick to things. An animal or person walks by, and the seeds get stuck in their fur or on their clothing. The seeds hang on for dear life until they fall off or are brushed off in a new place. Burs are a type of of seed that sticks (and sometimes it seems like their favorite place to stick is in people's socks).

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