What Is a Seed?
All flowering plants reproduce by the use of seeds. Inside flowers, there are male parts called stamens, which produce pollen, and female parts called carpels, which form eggs. Once an egg is fertilized by the pollen, a seed is formed. Some plants don't produce flowers, but do make seeds (like pine trees). Other plants (like ferns) don't make seeds at all. They create new plants by making spores. You can see clusters of spores (which look like dots) on the underside of fern leaves.
Make a Plant Press for Kids
A plant press is easy for kids to make and even easier to use. Afterwards, you will be able to preserve the memories from your nature walks.
What You'll Need:
- 2 thin boards (about 8" x 10")
- Corrugated cardboard
- Utility knife
- Paper towels
- Nylon webbing straps (one-inch wide)
- 4 D-rings
To Make the Plant Press:
Step 1: Have an adult help you cut two thin boards to the size you want the press to be, about the size of a paper towel.
Step 2: Using the utility knife, cut sheets of sturdy corrugated cardboard the same size as your boards.
Step 3: Cut newspaper sheets twice the size of your paper towels and fold them in half.
Step 4: Lay down one board first, then a cardboard sheet, then two paper towels to act as a blotter, next a folded sheet of newspaper. Then add another sheet of cardboard and keep going in the same order. The last things to go on should be one last piece of cardboard, then the other board.
Step 5: Cut two straps of nylon long enough to go around the press twice.
Step 6: Slip the end of each strap through two D-rings, fold the end over, and sew in place.
To Press Plants:
Step 1: Lay them inside the folded newspapers and spread them out so they don't overlap. Arrange leaves and petals so that they lay flat.
Step 2: Build up your press as described above, using as many cardboard sheets and paper towel blotters as you need.
Step 3: Squeeze the layers together, strap the press tightly, and put it in a warm place for a week or more to dry.
Then you can use your pressed plants to make things like bookmarks or stationery.
For another fun nature project, try the do-it-yourself fossils project on the next page.