If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

We all want our children to be empathetic, kind, and unselfish.  I enjoy being a father, but parenting can be very difficult at times. As parents and educators, we do our best to model it each day.  But sometimes you need a secret weapon.

And we found it for you.


As an adult, have you ever read a book that transforms your thoughts and actions?  One that made you change the way you approached something or how you looked at something?

This can happen for kids too.  Books are powerful.  Especially if you pick the right ones.

Kadir Nelson’s If You Plant a Seed is one of those magic books.  Pair Mr. Nelson’s books with multisensory activities can leave a strong imprint.  It will also be something you can do together. 


I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.



Courage to Connect CLE firmly believes that if multiple sensory systems are engaged in an activity, more learning will occur.  We thought we would find our favorite books and create a multisensory set of activities that can be drawn upon in the future.  We want to grow leaders and problem solvers and difference makers.

And great books can be the sun to help them grow.  If You Plant a Seed is a great place to start.

We absolutely love this story for many reasons.  First, the message within the story is one we can all learn from and should be sharing with our kids.  Secondly, the pictures are very intriguing to children and are a great visual.  Finally, this book can be pulled out at various times of the year and can have a different focus each time.  What a great book for your library at home or in the classroom!

This post is filled with multisensory learning activities that can be done in a variety of environments.  They can be done at home, in a classroom, or at a daycare.  We made sure all sensory systems were put to use as we navigate through the book.  Hope you enjoy!

Title: If You Plant a Seed

Author: Kadir Nelson

Theme: Valentine’s Day/Kindness

A great introductory sensory activity to do prior to this story would be to go to the grocery store.  Have your child find a carrot, tomato, sunflower seeds, and cabbage.  If you want to extend it further (but not necessary), pick up some corn, peanuts, cucumber, and onion. 

As you begin the story, engage your child’s visual system by taking a picture walk through the book.  Explore the cover and all the pictures (without reading the words) pointing out the colors and names of the vegetables.

After reading the first page have your child identify the characters.  What do the animals like to do?  Get the child’s vestibular systems going by jumping like the bunny and the mouse.  A trampoline is a great idea for this as well. 

As you continue through the story, let’s activate your child’s olfactory system.  Using the sense of smell, can you play a guessing game to determine which one is the cabbage, carrot, sunflower seed, or tomato?  Have your child close his/her eyes and put one of the items in a bag.  Which one is it?

Turning the page, it looks like the mouse and bunny are engaging their oral sensory system.  Play a taste guessing game to identify the cabbage, sunflower seed, carrot, and tomato.  Which one is crunchy? Squishy? What other words can you use to label the foods?  This may be a great way to get a child to taste a new food using the book as an example.

After reading a few more pages the animals have created a very large mess.  Can your child use his/her tactile system to see how each of the vegetables feels?  Touch the outside of the tomato and the sunflower seed.  Do they feel the same?  Now cut them open, how do they feel on the inside?  Compare how the carrot and the lettuce feel as well.  This is a great way to add new vocabulary.

At this point, get your child’s proprioceptive system going with some movement.  Can he/she act out the story?  For example, when the animals were jumping?  Pulling out the carrot?  When the animals were mad and stomped?  When the mouse lifted the tomato to his friend the bird?  Can he/she squeeze the sunflower seeds to crack it?

Finally, as the birds released the seeds, have your child find a kid friendly bowl. Gently drop the different foods into it to see what sounds they make.  Without looking, can he/she identify which food made what sound?  Put his/her auditory system to work! 

We love books and “If You Plant a Seed” by Kadir Nelson is one is one of our favorites.  If you would like more ideas for this great book, visit our Teachers Pay Teacher page for higher level questioning sheets, games, and much more.

Great food exploration is a fun way to bring people together.  One of our awesome partners creates great food to help families.  We teamed up with the Village Project this fall for some sensory fun for those in need.  You should check them out.  http://ourvillageproject.com/


They have their big Nourish fundraiser coming up, please support them!



Have a great day!


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