Well, as the old saying goes…. “April showers bring May flowers” and who doesn’t love flowers?Since we are now entering the month of May, flowers are beginning to bloom all around us. In my opinion nothing says “spring” like the beautiful colors and sweet smell of fresh flowers! In addition to their undeniable beauty, flowers have many added benefits. Fresh flowers can spread cheer and brighten up any room. Flowers are also a natural mood-booster. That’s right, flowers can actually make you feel better! Are you anxious or stressed out? Flowers can help with that too. In several studies people were actually less stressed when surrounded with real flowers. Of course the main purpose of a flower is plant reproduction however, we use them for so much more. We give flowers as gifts, and they are often used as decorations for weddings, homes and offices. Flowers are also used in many beauty products and more than 100 types of these blossoms are edible. Flowers are everywhere, they have really become a part of our daily lives.
Considering all that flowers have to offer, I believe we should take advantage of what nature has given us and use this time and these gorgeous blooms as “teachable moments” with our children. Below are just a few fun and creative learning ideas using flowers.
1. Flower arranging (practical life) – Use fresh or fake flowers and a small vase, let the child arrange and rearrange the flowers. Who knows, you might have a natural florist in your midst.
2. Painting with flowers (creativity & imagination)- Using fresh flowers, trim the stems but leave enough for a handle. Use the flower head as the brush and dip it into the paint, to create your own masterpiece!
3.Sunflower seed sensory bin (sensorial, mathematics, fine motor skills) – Fill a small bin /tub with sunflower seeds. Using tweezers, chopsticks, spoons etc. the child can pick up the seeds, scoop seeds, sort and count.
4. Explore/Dissect a flower (fine motor skills & language) – Using tweezers and a magnifying glass take apart a flower (large sunflowers work great for this as they have seeds in the head). Discuss, examine and explore each part of the flower (stem, leaves, petals, etc.) as you are working with your child.
5. Color changing flowers (science experiment) – For this project you need 3 real white flowers (carnations work great), 3 clear cups and 3 colors of food coloring. Fill each cup halfway with water and add several drops of food coloring to each cup. Trim the stem of each flower and place in the cup.. Discuss with your child what they think will happen to the flower (will the flower grow taller, will it die, will it change colors, etc.) Wait and Observe.
Enjoy and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!