I enjoy the ambiance a bouquet of flowers creates within our home. I also like that by having a vase of flowers out, I am more motivated to be organized and minimalistic. After all, a vase of flowers surrounded by a cluttered surface just doesn't look appealing. However, once I see the flowers start to fade a bit, my kids are free to explore them in a hands-on, self-directed way. Here are some activities to help you and your kids get the most out of your bunch of flowers.
Note: While we do grow flowers that can be consumed and used for medicinal purposes, these flowers are not of that quality.
Note: We are a multi-age homeschooling household, so the age range for each activity varies. In our home this allows everyone to join in!
1. Flower Watercolors
No need to take the flowers out of water just yet. Pull out watercolors and heavier stock paper and set up smaller vases of flowers, separated by type. To add inspiration and visual reference, find a beautifully illustrated book that has these same flowers (we checked this book out at the library). My older girls have spent hours inspired by this small and easy art invitation. Below are some beautifully illustrated books of flowers to look for (affiliate linked).
2. Flower Inspired Tea Party
Still keeping your flowers in water, set up a tea party. If your kids don't like tea, pour whatever they enjoy drinking in fancy cups and have some delightful cookies and snacks to add to the fun. It's a great opportunity to pretend play with your kids and practice social etiquette (holding conversations, greeting people, etc.) in a fun, indirect way. We tend to get dressed up for the occasion with costume jewelry and fancy clothes (as requested by my 4 year old), but it's not at all necessary.
3. Flower Crowns
Flower crowns can be used to dress up your tea party or a great outdoor adventure! In making the crowns, we noted that some flowers are easier to use than others, depending on the flexibility of their stems. We were able to weave some together, but for others, we used green twist-ties to secure the stiffer stemmed ones that wouldn't bend.
4. Flower Hairdos.
Who needs hair when you have flowers! These free printables from MotherNatured are fantastic! We have used them for all kinds of nature exploration and have also placed them in clear plastic sleeves and used dry erase markers to draw on them. Head over to the MotherNatured website, there is simply just too much there to pass up!
5. Flowers On Photos
Add some flower power to your old prints. I pulled out some old pictures, these are duplicate 8x10s we had, and we added flowers to enhance the picture! My kids loved reminiscing about the pictures while having something tactile to do. Although, I wouldn't use one-of-a-kind pictures, as smudges can happen. So, if you do not have pictures readily available, you can also use magazines. Now that I think of it, we have some back issues of National Geographic that might lend itself well to this!
6. Flowers with Drawings
Invite your kids to draw pictures that include real flowers. My kids had fun coming up with ideas to incorporate flowers into their drawings. There's nothing like seeing sparks of creativity at the kitchen table!
7. Flower Loose-Parts-Play
We added flowers to our loose-parts-play. Adding fresh flowers or even dried flowers to your loose-parts-play is an easy way to add different colors and textures to your open-ended play materials. Additionally, flowers naturally gravitated to our play kitchen as colorful cooking ingredients!
8. Flower Mandalas
This was fun and challenging for my older ones. The precision needed for visual symmetry was a topic of conversation, as was the wind! We now have a greater appreciation for those who do this on a grander scale! In the end, my kids were proud of what they produced and practiced some resiliency when the wind blew...repeatedly! Plus, nothing beats being outside on a beautiful spring day!
9. Flower Parts under a Microscope
We took this opportunity to review/learn all the parts of flowering plants by reading some books and using our microscopes. While my older kids have a more powerful microscope that allows us to see at a greater magnification, the microscope pictured above, is a great independent tool for my younger ones to use since it is relatively inexpensive, easily manipulated, and connects to my laptop to view.
Below are some of the books we used in conjunction with exploring flowers under our microscopes, with the exception of the last book, Science is Beautiful: Botanical Life, which isn't currently available, but can now be pre-ordered. This book is in my Amazon cart, as it looks amazing and pairs so well with this activity. (pictures are affiliate linked)
10. Flowers and Numbers
Strewing nature manipulatives (such as flowers) with math materials is a great way to invite little learners to self-direct math exploration. Using flowers and leaves for number recognition, counting, adding, subtracting, and even bundling for multiplication can be an interesting visual and kinetic activity for hands-on learners. The Count With Nature printouts are free and the wood number puzzle (number 4 pictured above) was purchased at Ikea. Both are great for toddler and preschool age.
11. Flowers as Paint Brushes
Using flowers, stems, and leaves as paint brushes is a fun and creative way to interact with nature. While my older kids switched to the precision of a paint brush fairly early in the painting process (only using the flower "paint stamp" for affect), my 4-year-old loved painting with all the items from our vase. She was especially interested in investigating and exploring the paint covered flowers and leaves.
12. Flower Press
My daughter received this flower press kit as a gift. It was available at Target for $3 at the beginning of the spring. However, you certainly do not need this kit to press flowers. ProFlowers has a great guide on How to Press Flowers. There are endless things you can do with pressed flowers, and they can easily be added to your loose-parts-play materials. My daughter is working to make pressed flowers into bookmarks.