Friday, July 13, 2012

faux floral fun part 2

 Another fun project you can do with your kiddos is decorate vases for their flower shop. There are many ways this can be approached but I think using happy washi and masking tape is great for small/fine motor skills. It also helps kiddos to work on problem solving as the tape can be tricky when it folds over upon itself. If you have a fancy pants tape dispenser your kiddos can help themselves otherwise, you can prepare tape by ripping of various lengths and sticking them to the edge of the table. This is how I do it with toddlers. Sometimes they will ask for a longer or shorted piece. If they want shorter tape, I have them cut or tear what they have.

*fake flowers separated with stems trimmed to about 8"-10"
*clear bottles and jars (mayo and nut butter jars and coffee drink bottles work)
*assortment of washi and/or colored masking tape
*marbles, rice, dried beans or other weight to pour into bottles
Washi tape is no longer only available at fine paper stores or online. Craft stores carry a small variety and some big box stores such as Target have a couple of different packs as well. Painters tape will always work in a pinch. Colored masking tape can be found here and/or here. You will want to use these tapes as they are not permanent and allow for easy removal.
 Have your kiddos add their tape first. This way they can lift and turn and turn and lift their jars or bottles how they like without spilling any contents. A little or a lot, it's all pretty!
Using beans, marbles or rice will add weight to the bottom of the jars/bottles. Fake flowers are very light and everything will tippy-tip without that extra weight. This too is a good process to aid in small motor skills. Children can pour from a lipped measuring cup or they can drop handfuls into a funnel. Have them count out marbles or beans, etc. You child may wish to add water, if you do, make sure the flower stems are stuck securely into glass flower cabochons or marbles. The cabochons can be found at your craft store and/or local dollar spot. Otherwise the flowers will float uppity up and not jive with the presentation.
Add flowers and ta-da! A fancy-pants floral bouquet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

{faux} floral fun for $10 or less...

 To create your own flower shop of  sorts all you need is a few bunches of fake flowers, a happy basket and a bit of florist foam; with a few other bits thrown in. All of this can be found at your local dollar store and much of it may be something you already have on hand or can find at the thrift store. I picked up all these bits for $10 plus tax.
To start, disassemble your flower bunches. This will create more flowers for your kiddos to work with and make the bunches more manageable as well. Do not use scissors for this, use wire cutters or the snippy part of your pliers. Make sure you get a straight cut otherwise you may end up with a pokey wire bit or two. If you alter the length of each stem as you cut, your kiddo can easily create multi-leveled arrangements.
Grab your basket and affix a few blocks of florist foam inside. You can glue it all into place or use a loop of packing tape or super tacky double stick poster tape. Styrofoam will also work as will play dough. This will give your kiddos a chance to poke away. Kiddos loving poking sticks into mud piles, and pipecleaners into playdough; so why not flower stems into foam? Stagger and layer your foam for depth, this will help create those multi-leveled arrangements I was talking about.
 Arrange flowers into various vases and/or jars. Kiddos can select their blooms for arranging and/or place the flowers into the vases as well. It's all good. Set it all up inside or outside and let yer kiddos play flower shop. Add a notepad or two for taking orders.
You can also pre-wrap a few blossoms with a length of masking tape or two and have your kiddos twist a pipecleaner around the tape to create their own bouquets. Older kiddos can wrap the tape around themselves. Always give your kiddo a chance to do for themselves, some may want to try wrapping the tape on their own while others will want help.
You can pick up faux sprigs of Baby's Breath and Ferns as well if you like to create authentic deliveries. Take a cue from your kiddo and see how they play with the goodies at hand. Take the time to dialogue with them as well. You never know what will spring from their creative little minds.

Monday, July 9, 2012

flower play at preschool

 Toddlers are natural gatherers. Show them any sort of object in number and they will probably gather them all up. They will line them up, horde them, talk to them and play with them in ways you never imagined.

Give a young child water and they will splash it and pour it. Give them toy animals and they will talk to them. Give them balls they will throw them and drop them, and give them paint, they will probably stick their hands in it. They do this with (hopefully) no prompting from adults.

One of my favorite things to do with young children is to set out an assortment of supplies and/or objects and see what the children do with it. They rarely do what I imagine they will and the surprise I feel is a great gift of knowledge.
I came to school one day to find the toddler classroom rearranged into a flower shop. Sure enough, the tots gathered up those plastic flowers. They were horded, lined up, placed into bags and cooked in the kitchen. They were stuck into play dough, used as microphones and yes, they were artfully arranged into beautiful bouquets but the young 'uns themselves.
A few weeks later, I filled up the water table with potting soil, added printed Easter eggs, watering pails, seed pots and a bunch of fake flowers.
Gardens were planted, bouquets were given and the kiddos had a great time! Why not add some flower play into the mix?