Has your child ever noticed and admired flowers while you are out in the
neighborhood? Maybe you have a garden or sometimes take home flowers to
beautify your home. You can help your child learn more about them as together
you observe, collect, and press interesting flowers.
Living things depend on one another for their survival. Some animals depend
on flowering plants for food, water, and shelter, and some plants depend
on animals and insects to pollinate their flowers so they can reproduce.
Learning about these relationships begins with observing diversity between
and among flowers and other living things. When children see bees, butterflies,
or other small creatures visiting flowers, they are also introduced to the
idea that some animals depend on flowers for food, water, or shelter.
Collecting and recording data; comparing and contrasting;
identifying patterns and relationships
3-6 year olds
Observing and Collecting Flowers
Take It Further
Start by noticing flowers with your child when you are out and about around
your home or neighborhood. Invite her to touch and smell them. If flowers
are not in bloom, stop by the floral department on a trip to the supermarket
or visit a local flower shop.
Get a closer look at flowers in your garden, in a family or friend's garden,
or in a public place where wild or cultivated flowers are growing. Remind
your child to look carefully for all kinds of flowers; some may be subtle
colors or even green. Encourage her to look at them closely, noticing the
colors, shapes, and textures of their different parts. Ask questions like
"How are the colors different on different parts of the plant?" and "What
do you notice about the shapes of the petals?"
Invite her to compare two different
types of blossoms: "How are they different?" and "How do some of their parts
look the same?" Invite her to look inside and underneath the flower, where
it connects to the stem. What does she notice? Invite her to smell the flower.
Does it have a smell? She may be surprised to learn that not all flowers
have strong scents.
Observing Creatures in Flowers:
Look for and draw your
child's attention to any insects on or around the flowers, or evidence that
other small creatures have been eating the flowers. If you do see a bee,
butterfly, or other flying insect, encourage your child to stand back quietly
and watch as the insect visits one flower after another. Ask "What do you
think it's doing?"
Invite your child to use crayons or colored
pencils to draw one of the flowers using My
. Encourage her to include a bee, butterfly,
or other creature she has seen on or near the flower.
Together, pick or purchase some interesting
flowers to take home for pressing. Remind your child to ask for your permission
before picking any flowers and to keep flowers away from her mouth, as some
are poisonous if eaten. Encourage your child to look closely at any insects
you see on or in the flowers. Ask questions like "What do you think the
insect is doing?" and "How do you think the insect is using the flower?"
Reminder: A few wildflowers are protected species that cannot be picked.
What You Need:
- A phone book (or other heavy book)
- Newsprint (or other absorbent paper)
- Heavy items (for weight)
- Heavy cardstock or construction paper cut in 6" squares (1 for each
- Paper and colored pencils for drawing (optional)
Note: Press the flowers soon after picking or buying them, or place them
in the refrigerator until you are ready. Make sure the flowers are dry before
- Open the phone book to the middle and spread the newsprint on the
- Place the flower gently on the newsprint, add more newsprint on top,
and close the book. (Use several layers of newsprint to ensure that
no pigment from the flower seeps into the book.)
- Place some other heavy items on top to weight it down.
- Leave it there for several days.
- Open the book and encourage your child to gently take out the newsprint
with the flower inside.
- Examine the flower with your child. "How has the flower changed?"
- Use new sheets of newsprint to repeat the process.
- After two or three repetitions, the flower will be flattened and
- Invite your child to gently lift the flower from the newsprint, spread
clear glue on the squares of cardstock or construction paper, and gently
stick on the flower.
Encourage your child to use colored pencils to
draw some details around the flower to show the stem or leaves of the plant
it came from. Maybe she will want to draw a picture of the insect she saw
on the plant before you picked it. Display the drawing in a protected spot
where your child can see it and share it with other family members.
Talking About Flowers:
Encourage your child to share her
pressed flowers with family members and friends. Help her describe where
she found the flower, what it looked like and smelled like, and the process
of pressing it. Maybe your child would like to make a pressed flower as
a gift for a family member, just as Sally made a flower drawing for her
mother in "Flower Power".
What You Need:
- Scissors, wax paper, and iron
Invite your child to preserve flowers without
pressing them: Place a towel over the surface where you will be working.
Cut wax paper into 2 squares, at least 6" across. Lay 1 square on the towel
and encourage your child to arrange individual flowers on top of it. Carefully
place a 2nd square over the flowers, and help her run a warm iron over the
waxed paper until the 2 pieces stick together, holding the flower parts
inside. Remember to carefully supervise her around the warm iron.
More Information About Flowers:
Visit a plant nursery or wildflower farm. Look at and smell interesting
flowers, and invite your child to be a flower detective. For example, she
can find flowers with similar parts, like long, narrow petals or short round
ones. These are great places to notice butterflies and other insects on
and around flowers.
What You Need:
- Flowers, pressed flowers
- Markers for writing
- Heavy cardstock or construction paper
- Crayons or colored pencils for drawing
- Plastic wrap (optional), hole punch, yarn or string
As you collect and press individual flowers, encourage your child to describe
them. Take her dictation, writing down her words on the paper next to the
flower. Encourage your child to use words to describe the shapes, colors,
and textures of the flower parts. This is a good time to introduce and use
"flower words" with your child like blossom and petal. Invite her to draw
and describe any insects or small animals that might have visited the flower.
Help your child make a small flower book from her pressed flowers by punching
holes on the left side of each piece of paper and attaching them with yarn
or string. Optional: Before punching holes and tying pages together, cover
each page with plastic wrap. Invite your child to share and "read" the book
to family members and friends.
Flower or Blossom:
The reproductive structure of some plants
One of the often brightly colored parts of the flower
Oh My - A Butterfly! All about Butterflies (The Cat in the Hat's Learning
by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Joe Mathieu and Aristides Ruiz. Random
by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt, 2001.