The Beauty of WildflowersPosted June 6, 2022
The Beauty of Wildflowers
By Roxie Zeller
We made it through the long, cold Minnesota winter to be greeted by an abundance of beautiful wildflowers this spring. Dandelions, phlox, squill, and all the flowering trees have captured the interest of the Eagan preschoolers. We come inside each morning with a new bouquet of flowers to add as a centerpiece for one of the snack tables or as gifts that the preschoolers plan to give their families. There is something magical about picking wildflowers; maybe it’s the fact that no one will get upset if you pick some, or perhaps it’s their abundance. Or perhaps it’s the joy in knowing that flowers are a universal way to tell someone you care about them.
From patiently waiting for marigolds to bloom to using foraged flowers in cooking, our preschoolers have explored the many ways to study, use, and appreciate flowers. When the flowers first started to bloom, there were many conversations about how different insects need the flowers to survive, how we can gather flowers while being mindful of the amount we are taking, and where it is safe to collect flowers. We even talked about the fact that many people see dandelions as weeds and spray ‘plant poison’ on them during the dandelion season.
As more flowers emerged and we brought more inside with us, a flower press was introduced as a way to preserve the flowers longer. It has become almost a daily activity to place flowers in the press, between big blocks, or in books to use later in art projects. Many children chose fresh flowers in the art studio as the subject of their close-up still-life paintings. They selected one flower out of a bouquet to carefully draw; they mixed paints to match the flower’s colors, and then painted their flower as their last art project of the year. Once the flowers were no longer being used as a reference for still-life paintings, we brought them into the classroom to study and dissect. The children even used the flowers to decorate the hair of one of our visiting seniors, Grandma Puppies.
However, my favorite project we have done with the flowers is using dandelions to make natural playdough. When the dandelions were plentiful, the preschoolers filled many baskets full of the lovely yellow flowers and brought them inside for cooking. They carefully pulled all the heads off the stems and added them to a blender. Once the blender container was full, boiling water was added before blending the mixture. The preschoolers were skeptical that the “flower water” would become lovely yellow playdough, but once flour, salt, and cream of tartar were added and mixed in, it wasn’t long before the playdough was ready to play with. By the looks on the preschooler’s faces, you would have thought it was magic. If your summer adventures leave you with an abundance of flowers, the recipe we used can be found at https://parentingchaos.com/diy-dandelion-playdough/.
As the school year comes to a close and we say goodbye to our preschool graduates, it’s a bittersweet time of year. I couldn’t think of a better way to honor this group of preschoolers than with a beautiful fresh-cut flower, a tradition at All Seasons. I hope that all the graduates from both preschools go off to do amazing things, but also remember to find the abundant wonder and beauty in the world around them.