There's nothing like driving by a field of sunflowers in the summer. The burst of yellow, green, and brown catches the corner of your eye and immediately brings your attention to the beautiful flowers. However, the sensational sunflower is much more than a beautiful plant. Check out these five fun facts about sunflowers and the accompanying multisensory and art activities you can do with the children in your care this summer.
Five Fun Facts About Sunflowers
- Sunflowers are native to the Americas: Sunflowers were originally grown in North America for food, medicine, dye, and other uses before they were distributed to other parts of the world by Spanish conquistadors around 1500.
- Sunflowers track the sun: In its early stages of growth, a sunflower will turn towards the sunlight (a behavior called heliotropism). Young sunflower buds and blossoms typically face towards the east in the morning and will follow the sun's path during the day.
- Sunflowers have a history of healing: Many Native American tribes believed that sunflowers soothed chest pain and helped treat kidney issues.
- Sunflowers have traveled to space: U.S. astronaut Don Pettit decided to pack sunflower seeds for his trip to the International Space Station in 2012 and document their growth process in space.
- The world's tallest sunflower was 30'1" tall! Guinness World Records recorded the world's tallest sunflower in Germany on August 28, 2014.
Multisensory Learning Activities
- Have children use the sunflower seeds as counters and count them out loud as a multisensory math activity.
- Help children dissect a sunflower and learn about its different parts as a multisensory science activity.
- Create a sunflower-themed sensory bin for the young learners in your care. You may want to include a few whole sunflowers or different parts of sunflowers for children to explore. Another idea would be to put a variety of yellow items (sunflowers, envelope, sponge, whole lemon, daffodil, etc.) into a sensory bin.