It's springtime here in California and after all the rain we had this year, the flowers are in full bloom! I love finding activities that will get my kids excited about being outside exploring nature and this does just that.
Do your kids love smashing things? My son loves anything that involves smashing, cutting and pewing (as in "pew-pew-pew" like a laser gun). My daughter on the other hand loves collecting beautiful flowers from nature. This activity is the best of both worlds!
The first thing you need to do is go on a nature walk with your kids to collect as many different brightly colored flowers and leaves as possible. Be on special lookout for plants that smell good: lavender, mint, cilantro, sage, rose petals, rosemary or any other sweet smelling flower or herb!
Next you will need some white fabric. We took a trip to the fabric store where I bought some white muslin for $2.99 a yard. I bought 3 yards and then cut it up into about 16 smaller squares.
Next allow your child to lay the flowers on one half of the fabric. Show them how you will be folding it over so that they understand why they need to keep the flowers on one half of the fabric. If you would rather use all the fabric you could lay another piece of fabric on top. Or you could put a large piece of masking tape over each of the flowers.
Show your kids how to smash the flowers with a rock. You will need a good sized smooth rock for this part. We happen to have a ton of landscaping rocks in our back yard that work perfectly. You could also use a hammer, but I found the rock works just as well and I didn't have to worry about my 3 year old smashing his finger in the process!
As your child does this they will be amazed as all the colors start bleeding through. I was even more amazed by all the wonderful smells that began to seep out! Lavender, mint, cilantro, rose petals. When you smash flowers and herbs they smell even stronger than usual, it's really lovely.
You may choose to help your child by holding down the fabric as they hammer so that the plants don't shift around too much. You may also need to point out flowers that they missed.
Open up the fabric and you will have a beautifully symmetrical smashed flower composition. At this point you will have some flower chunks on the fabric as well. Pick it up and shake it off. Then lightly brush off any leftover plant pieces.
The colors of these prints will fade over time, but they sure are beautiful while they last!
I've always loved flowers. I have all these memories from my childhood of flowers. I remember putting flowers inside books where I would smash then and let them dry out. I remember wandering through the rose garden with scissors and returning back to the house with a stack of beautiful smelling roses. I remember picking all the thorns off of the roses so I wouldn't poke myself and then arranging them in a vase with other flowers I would find in our backyard as well. They say our sense of smell is closely linked to memory, perhaps this is why I remember flowers. This activity is sure to create some wonderful memories for you and your children.