Flower & Leaf Pressing with Children, Montessori-Style!



One of my very favorite memories of flowers is of my own children (ages 6, 9, & 10) when we were homeschooling in the 1980's. We lived near an amazing and very untouched wilderness area called Harmon Den near our home in Fines Creek, NC. Just after a Spring rain, we drove up the road to Harmon Den to see a "symphony of flowers." (that's the name my children gave it!) While we were there just soaking in the beauty of the meadow of wild flowers, it started to rain again. A gentle, light rain. I got in the car to get out of the rain, but the children insisted on walking in the rain among the wildflowers! They walked all the way home, just ahead of me as I drove slowly and watched them frolicking along the lovely dirt road. My children (and now my grandchildren) OFTEN draw me back to nature & it's magical wonders!

After my recent eCourse "Herb Studies Workshop" at Wings, Worms, & Wonder, I rediscovered the fabulous flower of the Echinacea plant.

All photos in this post are by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

I also remembered what my own children loved to do with flowers that we grew. (Johnny Jump-ups & Sweet Pea especially!) They would press them in a flower press and then later they would place them in between 2 pieces of glass, solder the glass together and hang them in the window as a Suncatcher! We had a stained glass studio, and so the children would hang these lovely creations around our shop and they made money at it, too! What a real life learning experience for our homeschool curriculum: Math/bookkeeping/profit margin, Art, Botany, Handicrafts, Natural History, and lots of Social Skills development happening in an exciting way! (The kids really developed their people skills and got very good at selling their product and even charging sales tax!)

I decided to set up a flower pressing activity with the petals from my Echinacea because the colors are magnificent! The fantastic spiky centers of this flower will not press well, so I REMOVED EACH PETAL for pressing...a wonderful FINE MOTOR ACTIVITY for young children!

This photo shows my tray set up for flower pressing. 

Flower press is available from Amazon at this link: Best Nest Flower Press at Amazon.

If you choose to press plants with your little ones (and I highly recommend it) here are some pointers:

   Make sure the petals or leaves are spread out on the paper and not touching (they will stick together if they touch each other)
   Use blotting paper that comes with a flower press kit and place the cardboard first, then one paper under the petals or leaves and then place another paper on top of them. Then, create the next layer with cardboard, then blotting paper, then flower petals, another blotting paper, and cardboard again, etc.
   For young children, I find it handy to put pieces of packing tape over the backs of the wing nut screws of the press to secure them, and then leave the screws in while loading the press with your flowers or leaves.
   Just take off the wing parts of the four screws and put them in a little container so you don't loose them in the garden!

Talk about FINE MOTOR experiences...unscrewing and then screwing on the little wings of the wing nut screws requires lots of turning and turning and more turning!

I decided to glue my pressed flowers & leaves on the pages of my nature journal where I had drawn renditions of the herbs from the Wings, Worms & Wonder Herb Drawing eCourse. This adds a mixed-media slant and helps in actual identification of the plants.

You can read more about introducing water colors to children and having fun drawing & painting herbs at my past post here: Artfully Outdoorsy Montessori: Let the Children Draw Us Back to Nature!

And here: Artfully Outdoorsy in The Montessori Room: Realistic Leaf Drawing for Young Children!

Over the years, I have pressed autumn leaves with little children and these can be added to seasonal cards for the children to give to their families at Thanksgiving or Winter Solstice. I have given the children glitter glue in a jar with a brush to carefully apply the leaf to the card and it looks very festive!

The dogwood tree in my garden was just beginning to change with the Autumn season. I love the mottled effect.

These leaves from the Liquid Amber tree have a wonderful shape and press well. Later in the season, these leaves turn a gorgeous purple!

Watch for my UPCOMING POST on setting up this PRESSED LEAVES & MAKING CARDS ACTIVITY for young children! 

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I am delighted that you are visiting my blog and I hope you have enjoyed your experience! I invite you to leave a comment if you have a moment. I love hearing about your experiences and what your little ones are making with pressed plants and nature art journals!

This post is one of many wonderful articles you will find at Living Montessori Now featuring "Montessori Mondays". Just click here: Montessori Monday Link Up!

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