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Whether you learn thematically or like to teach that way, here are some fun activities to do with your child as you learn about flowers and plants. While these activities are targeted towards preschoolers 3-5 years old, many of the fun things listed here can be modified for toddlers 1-2 years old.
Coffee Filter Flowers
Materials: watercolor paints, paintbrush, coffee filters, pipe cleaners
Paint one coffee filter at a time. Let them hang dry. Once dry, twist the middle of the coffee filter to the size of flower you want. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the twisted part of the coffee filter.
Flower Marble Painting
Materials: pre-cut flower shape out of paper, pie or cake tin, tape, marbles, washable tempera paint
Place pre-cut flower shape in pie tin (tape it down if it will not stay in one place). Squirt some big drops of paint in the colors desired. Place marbles in and move pie tin around to make the marbles move through the paint and all over the paper. Lay out to dry.
Still Life Painting of Flowers or Plants
Materials: vase with flowers or plants, paper, watercolor paints or tempera paints. (If drawing still life, use crayons, markers, colored pencils or oil pastels)
Place the vase where the child can see it clearly and encourage them to paint or draw what they see. Discuss details they notice about the object.
Materials: different types of flowers, paper, tempera paint
Dip the different flowers in the paint and stamp them on the paper.
Materials: grass, leaves, petals, pebbles, tissue paper, sequins… (really anything you would like to have in your garden collage), glue, Q-tips (I like to use Q-tips to apply glue to paper or to objects)
Encourage your child to create their dream garden! Ask them questions about what they would like in their garden: what kind of flowers or plants? Any fruits or vegetables? Apply glue to paper, and then objects to the glue. Lay out to dry.
Items to add to your block area: artificial flowers and plants, plastic or terracotta pots, gardening tools, gardening gloves. Place pictures of gardens, plants and flowers around your block area for inspiration.
Science & Nature
Grow Grass or Flowers
Materials: seeds of choice, soil, transparent little tote, water
Involve the kids in the planting process. Follow directions on packet for seeds you chose to plant. Monitor and track growth over time.
Label Parts of a Flower
Materials: pre-cut seeds, petals, stems, leaves, roots, construction paper, label stickers (either for you to write on or for kids to write on)
Discuss how plants start from roots, grow into a stem, leaves and petals sprout, and making seeds in the middle of the flower.
Make a Rain Gauge
Materials: empty 2 liter bottle, small rocks or pebbles, permanent marker, ruler, scissors (or box cutter), tape
Cut off the top of the bottle a few inches from the spout. Put the rocks in the bottom of the pop bottle about an inch thick. Starting after the rock layer, and using the ruler, mark the bottle every inch or half inch. Turn the top of the bottle (that you cut off) upside down and tape it on the rest of the bottle so the spout is pointing down, making a funnel.
Soda Bottle Terrariums
Materials: empty 2 liter bottle with cap, small rocks or pebbles, soil, water, hardy small plants, scissors or box cutter, tape
Cut open bottle a little over halfway to the top. Layer the bottom with rocks, then soil. Put the plants in the soil. Tape the top of the bottle back on. Leave the cap on the bottle to keep in the moisture. Put in a sunny place and water according to the directions of the plants contained.
Seeds for the Birds
Materials: big pinecones, string, peanut butter, all kinds of seeds (or birdseed) in a bag
Tie string to the top of a pinecone. Tie string in a loop so it is able to hang from somewhere. Roll pinecone in peanut butter. Put peanut butter covered pinecone in the bag of birdseed and shake until the whole pinecone is covered in seeds. Hang outside for the birds to enjoy!
Math & Manipulatives
Play-Dough Flower Tray
Materials: colorful play-dough, flower cookie cutters, buttons, colorful transparent gems, sequins, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, leaves (anything you want to make flowers with)
I like to separate materials into tinker trays or serving platters with multiple sections or even silverware containers. You can sort out the materials accordingly and let the children create for themselves!
Sorting Parts of a Flower
Materials: leaves, petals, stems (can be artificial or real), 3 transparent containers, labels (leaves, petals, stems)
Discuss the differences between leaves, petals and stems. Have the children sort accordingly.
Fine Motor Sunflower Seeds
Materials: tweezer, big sunflower with seeds still in it
Show the kids how to use a tweezers. Allow them to pick out the seeds and put them in a bowl.
Fine Motor Flowers with Colander
Materials: Colander, artificial flowers
Push flower stems through holes in colander
Materials: artificial flowers and plants, vases, baskets, aprons, gardening gloves, cash register, bags, and tissue paper to wrap flowers in.
Help the kids create a flower market to design arrangements, sell and buy flowers.
Materials: Dirt and water to make mud
Start out experimenting with water and dirt to see what kind of textures you can make. Eventually add tools like shovels, hand rakes, and sand molds to work with in the mud.
Materials: Dry dirt, shovels, stones, artificial flowers and plants, small pots
Plant a flower garden or pot flowers in your sensory table!
Materials: long pretzel sticks, green grapes
Build a tree on a flat surface using the pretzel sticks as the trunk and branches, and the green grapes as leaves.
Eating Parts of a Plant
Materials: seeds (any kind to eat: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds…), broccoli, celery, spinach, carrots, labels
Label the food accordingly: seeds-seeds, flower-broccoli, stem-celery, leaves-spinach, roots-carrots. You are eating parts of a plant!
Daffodil Snack Cups
Materials: pre-cut yellow flowers, mini cups peeled clementine oranges
Tape pre-cut yellow flowers to the bottom of mini cups. Put peeled and sliced (not cut, just peeled apart) in the mini cups.
Sweeping dirt into dustpan
Materials: hand broom, dust pan, dirt, colored masking tape
Tape a square shape on the floor. Use hand broom to sweep dirt into square. Once dirt is swept into square, sweep into dust pan and pour into dirt bin (or garbage if you are using regular floor dirt and dust!)
Extension: As the child becomes more proficient in sweeping, you will no longer need the taped shape on the ground as a target. They will be able to sweep right into the dust pan.
Materials: plant with medium-large leaves, cotton balls, small dish with water
Dip cotton ball in water dish and very gently scrub the top of the leaves one by one, while holding the bottom of each leaf with your other hand. Let leaves air dry.
Caring for Household Plants
Materials: Hardy indoor or outdoor plants, watering can, colored tape, water
Find some hardy plants that can be kept indoors or outside on your patio or porch. Mark in watering can with colored tape how much water should be used on the plants. Follow directions for particular plants or flowers watering frequency.
Music & Movement
Pick a Flower Large Motor Activity
Materials: can, popsicle sticks, pre-cut paper flowers, writing utensil, glue
Write a large motor movement on the pre-cut flowers. Glue the pre-cut flower to a popsicle stick. Complete as many as you would like. Put all that are complete into a can, flowers pointing up. Take turns picking a flower and performing the large motor activity listed.
Here are some ideas: jumping jack, jump on 1 foot 5 times, roll around on the floor, scream as loud as you can, reach as high as you can, touch your toes, do a sit up or a push up, lay like a dead bug with your legs and arms up in the air…
Literacy & Writing
Flower Petal Name Match
Materials: pre-cut petals with letters of the alphabet on them, pre-cut yellow circles, pencils, glue
Help child write their name in a circle in the pre-cut yellow circles. Match petals with the appropriate letters in their name. Glue petals onto yellow circle piece. Lay out to dry.
Plant Life Cycle Book
Materials: small rectangle pieces of paper, stapler, colored pencils
Discuss the plant life cycle: seeds-roots-stem-leaves-flower. Draw a picture and write the word of each part of the cycle on a page. (exp: for seeds, draw seeds in the ground. On the bottom of the page, help the child write “seeds”.) When finished with all pages, staple together.
Materials: paper, glue, Q-tips, seeds
Write name on paper. Use Q-tips to spread glue over lines of written name. Sprinkle seeds on glue until the glue is completely covered. Shake off the extra seeds and lay out to dry.
Books to check out:
The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert
From Seed to Plant, by Gail Gibbons
The Dandelion Seed, by Joseph Anthony
The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss
Flower Garden, by Eve Bunting
If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson
Large Group Activities
Talk/act out the plant life cycle- start out low as seeds, grow slowly, go through wind (big waves) and rain (little waves), reach up high to the sun.
Sense of Smell
Pass around different kinds of flowers and plants. Chart and graph what plants kids like the best.
The Little Gardener by Jan Geradi
Act out with the story what it would be like to be a flower. Start out as a seed, crouching low to the ground. Grow and get taller, go through wind and rain, growing leaves and flowering.
Color Matching Flowers and Stems
Have pre-cut flowers and stems with matching colors in a basket. Pass the basket around and have each child grab one item. When everyone has one, take turns letting each child find the stem color that matches their color flower or vise versa.
Enjoy! What are some flower and plant activities you’ve tried with your preschoolers and loved? Comment with them below so other all of us can enjoy these activities together!