April showers bring May flowers!
Welcome to Dawn Publications’ new weekly blog, Inside Outside Nature. Every Monday I’ll explore a new topic with you, giving you something you can do with children both inside and outside of your home or classroom. I’m delighted to begin this blog on the first week of May (this first one will run for 10 days)—when all of nature is bursting with freshness, renewal, and flowers!
What images come to mind when you hear the word “flower?” Maybe you think of a red rose, a yellow daffodil, a purple pansy, or a whole field of wildflowers. Colorful, showy flowers are easy to spot, but some are subtler, such as the flowers of some trees, grasses, weeds, and even a cactus. Later in the year, the vegetable garden provides lots of opportunities for discovering flowers.
One of my favorite springtime flower destinations is a plateau near our home that’s covered in wildflowers. During a recent visit I neglected to bring a wildflower field guide. No problem…my husband and I decided to make our own! Pulling out a small notepad and pencil we had great fun coming up with descriptive names like the “five-petaled pink starflower” and “tiny yellow dots.” Just don’t ask me to identify the flowers by these same names next year!
Inside: A Seedy Activity
May is a perfect time to teach or review a plant’s growing cycle with children, noting that the flower produces the seeds that will grow into new plants. A Seedy Activity from Pass the Energy Please is designed as a Center Activity for the classroom, but it’s easily adaptable to do at home too. You’ll notice that the suggested seeds represent a variety of plants, giving you an opportunity to discuss the diversity of plants that produce flowers.
Source: A Guide to Nature’s Food Chains by Carol L. Malnor
Outside: Flower Mini-Fieldtrip
Invite children to participate in a “mini-field trip” to a flower in your yard, park, or somewhere on the school grounds. Ask them to spend some time carefully observing the flower (quietly and without moving). Sketching the flower helps children focus on what they’re seeing. What types of creatures visit the flower? What types of creatures live near the flower? Once they’re back inside, they can look up the flower in a field guide or gardening book. Or they may want to create their own name for the flower, just like I did.
Source: Adapted from Anthony D. Fredericks, author of On One Flower: Butterflies, Ticks, and Few More Icks.
And don’t forget to take time to smell the flowers!
More Flower Fun and Facts