Kylie from how we montessori is back today with part two of the “Make Like a Montessori Mama” series. Her first post was a big hit and I have no doubt you’ll love today’s ideas just as much… Here’s Kylie:
Five great Montessori inspired activities about PLANTS!
Five Montessori inspired activities that allow the child to explore plants using materials you can find around the home.
1. Taking care of a plant
It would be wonderful if every child had their own garden or patch of earth in which to grow a plant. If this is not possible a child can still learn about taking care of plants by adopting an indoor plant.
This is a great activity for a young child. As soon as a child can walk they can learn to water a plant.
Here my son is dusting the plant’s leaves, he supports the leaf with one hand and dusts with the other. We leave a watering can next to the plant. I only put as much water in the watering can as the plant needs. This removes the chance of the plant being overwatered. While I still check on the plant generally it is my son’s responsibility to look after it. This can also involve trimming dead leaves or moving it around to ensure it gets enough sun.
2. Observing a root system
Here we have found a creative way to observe a root system. This is a great visual experience for a child as roots are usually underground and can be difficult to imagine.
I drilled some holes into the bottom of some empty containers and planted some seedlings. Alternatively you could plant some seeds and watch them grow. I put the seedlings on a tray to catch any water draining through and put them on a low window ledge for my son to observe. To begin with I covered the base with brown paper to provide a dark environment for the roots to establish.
You could extend the activity for an older child by drawing a plant with roots or labeling parts of a plant.
3. Go on a nature walk
If you only have time for one activity, Montessori would suggest you take a nature walk. Montessori nature walks are taken at the child’s pace and unless there is a safety issue, or you need to return home, follows the child’s lead.
Children are often attracted to small things and will pick up items like twigs, flowers or leaves. My son is currently interested in seedpods and collects them for our nature tray. A nature tray is a good way to store the items you bring home and gives you the chance to explore them further. A young child may just like to play with them, an older child may like to identify the leaves or the plants they were from.
4. Life cycle sequence cards
Life cycle cards are a good way of visually demonstrating the sequence of a life cycle. We have used the life cycle of an apple. Also popular at this time of year is the life cycle of a pumpkin. These cards are available for free or for a small charge online and you can simply print and laminate. You can use the cards in a couple of different ways depending on your child’s skill level.
I present all of the cards to my three year old son and work through the cycle with him. Later he will be able to use the individual stage cards and use the complete cycle card as a control. This activity is best suited from two years and up. It is best followed by a real life experience such a visit to an orchard or pumpkin patch, we settle for eating the apple!
5. Flower arranging
This is a classic Montessori activity. Visit your garden with your child, a basket and some scissors. If your child is old enough they can cut some flowers, if they are younger you may want to help or have some flowers precut. Bring the flowers inside and add them to your flower arranging tray. If you don’t have any flowers in your garden look for alternatives, often twigs and branches with buds look just as attractive. In the tray you will need some small vases, a small jug of water and if you like some doilies. You may also want a sponge to soak up any spills.
The child is to:
- pour water into the vase
- cut and arrange the flowers into the vase
- place the vase in a suitable location
Remember the vases will need to be refilled with water within a day and the flowers removed or replaced within a couple of days. Alternatively you could use rubber bands and ribbon and make posies as a thoughtful gift.
Kylie D’Alton has two sons and blogs at how we montessori about raising them the Montessori way.
P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?