Introduction to Botany for Kids
Before we moved in to our current home, Ella was so excited to get to live at “the Tulip House.”
At some point, someone who lived here before us planted hundreds of tulip bulbs all around the house, so every Spring the house is surrounded by a sea of gorgeous blooms.
With the tulips starting to emerge from the ground, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for an Introduction to Montessori Botany for Kids.
One of the things that I love most about the Montessori approach to Botany is that it embraces almost every subject — it’s not merely a scientific introduction to flowers. It also encompasses language, practical life lessons, mathematics, art, and sensorial work.
Today, I want to give you a semi-brief overview of how I introduced Montessori Botany to my daughter and the children of Child’s Garden Montessori.
Botany Books for Kids
We started off with some circle time reading some great gardening and botany books for kids.
I then brought out a basket of botany-related pictures and introduced the children to the idea that trees, plants, grass, and flowers are all related in the subject of Botany. Ella was very excited to learn that Botany was a science and thus has its own scientific language.
Flowering arranging is one of the most beautiful Montessori practical life lessons, and as an added challenge, you can set out this conjunction game, so children can arrange flowers while testing their knowledge of conjunctions!
We then went outside and tried to look for examples of botany. We observed botany in many forms, both natural and controlled in gardens and landscaping. We are lucky enough to live within walking distance to a community garden and had some fun meeting our neighbours and asking them questions about what they were planting and why. (Why why why why why… we’re lucky we didn’t get kicked out of the gardens.)
After exploring the Botany 3-part cards from the Helpful Garden, we tried our hand at some flower dissection!
Each of the children received a tulip and carefully removed each part, exploring and making observations as we went. We then glued each of the individual parts to some thick white card stock; some of the children took the extra step of labeling the parts of the flower, while others just discussed their knowledge with me. Either are great!
Montessori Botany Puzzles
We purchased our Montessori Botany Puzzles from Adena — I’ll review my Botany Materials from them shortly, but for the cost, I really can’t complain too much about the knobs needing some re-gluing.
Using these with a control map or botany 3 part cards helps reinforce the individual parts of the flower and how they all fit together in a specific way to create the whole flower. (For the control map we used our play dough mats, below.)
Painting with Flowers
A fun, process-based art activity for kids, I simply put out some flowers that had seen better days, some paint and paper, and let the kids to it!
We’re not yet planting in our garden, as we are building raised beds this year, but we started some seeds in the house and discussed all of the things that a seed needs to grow. We also experimented with soil-less planting.
Clean Mud Garden Bin
I’ll be sharing this fun sensory play idea tomorrow. Since we were trapped inside from the spring showers, I decided to let the kids play with this garden sensory bin filled with clean mud — at least until we can get outside and dig our hands into the real thing!
Our Montessori Botany Cabinet is one of Ella’s favourite Montessori Materials. It is a set of 24 leaf shapes that children can learn to identify and trace (a great pre-writing activity). I presented it to the children and we will soon be working on a paper bunting for the living room made out of a collection of traced paper leaves and found real leaves.
Really, most of the real food that we eat was at one point a plant, or part of a plant, and the rest of it likely depended on plants for nourishment. Grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs — they all would work for a “botany themed snacks.”
I decided to do a simple sunflower butter snack for the kids by cutting out a piece of tortilla with a flower-shaped cookie cutter, spreading it with some sunflower butter, and adding a carrot stem, spinach leafs, and either raisins or sprinkles for the pistils.
Botany Under the Microscope
We haven’t had much opportunity to use our microscope, but I was really excited to bring it out for looking at some parts of the leaf. If you don’t have a microscope (and can’t borrow one), exploring actual leaves or flowers in front of a bright window or on a homemade light table would also allow children to observe all of the beautiful details and patterns within plants.
Make Your Own Perfume
Ella is obsessed with perfume… an obsession she comes by honestly! I thought this invitation to make her own perfume would be the perfect science experiment for her, and it doubles as a bit of sensory play, too!
Flowers and Culture
Did you know that most countries have a national flower? A great way to incorporate geography with botany for kids is to learn the national flowers for a few select countries.
My kids were fascinated with the idea that different flowers grow in different parts of the world, and that it is illegal to import or export some flowers, and sometimes illegal to pick national flowers! Ella also brought up that we wear only poppies in the fall, and we discussed how flowers can be symbolic — peace lilies, poppies for Remembrance Day, daffodils for cancer awareness, etc.
Botany Nomenclature Play dough!
I made a batch of our rose-scented homemade play dough and printed off these Parts of the Flower play dough sheets from my friend Alecia over at Learning2Walk.
With traditional Montessori 3-part cards, each part of the flower would have it’s own card with the part’s name on the bottom and the part highlighted in red — but with this fun play dough twist, children highlight the flower part themselves by shaping their play dough into the lines of that part. Read more about this activity and get the free play dough mats here.
I hope you are inspired by our exploration of botany for kids — we will be sharing more in-depth details about each of our activities in the coming weeks, so if you’re not already signed up for our free weekly newsletter full of hands-on learning ideas, parenting inspiration, and recipes, you can fill out this form to get on the list:
Check out the botany posts from my fellow Montessori bloggers by clicking any of the links below:
Natural Beach Living ~ The Natural Homeschool ~ Living Montessori Now
The Kavanaugh Report ~ Mama’s Happy Hive ~ Sugar, Spice and Glitter ~ Child Led Life
Every Star Is Different ~ Grace and Green Pastures ~ The Pinay Homeschooler
Wow! So many fantastic activity ideas! I love them all!
Thank you, Renae!
This post is FULL of incredible information and beautiful botany work for children. I LOVE it so much! Thank you for packing this with awesome information! The play dough mats are such a great idea and the flower snack is SUPER cute!
Thank you, Vanessa!
This looks so fun. I’d love to do this!
Very, very cool! Awesome!
Thanks for stopping by!
What a beautiful way to explore! We have to much shade around our home to a beautiful garden. I’m jealous! Thank you for the wonderful ideas.
We have a ton of clay, but we’re going for raised boxes this year!
Sounds like a lot of fun, especially painting with flowers. 🙂 This is intended for preschool ages, is it?
Hi Marie – I mostly did them with my preschoolers, but a couple of the older toddlers joined in, too. Kindergarteners and early elementary would probably enjoy some of them, too!
Jennifer, this is just so beautiful! I love everything about this post. The nature walk, the painting using flowers… and the subtle introduction of the subject itself. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Jae!
Wow! What a wonderful post. This is so well done. I also want to point out that I love your photos of the garden. You picked some of our favorite books to feature–we especially love A Seed is Sleepy.
Thank you, Sheila — we loved exploring our gorgeous neighbourhood gardens 🙂 We really are so lucky to have those within walking distance.
Wow! You have covered so many areas. I love many of the ideas here. I’m going to have to look into the book suggestions as well.
Thank you, Bess – I loved your post, too!
Oh my goodness, there are just so many brilliant ideas in this! What a fantastic way to introduce kids to botany, I’m 35 and it made me want to learn more about it too!
Aw, that’s awesome! Thank you for stopping by, Kate 🙂
These are some of the cutest ideas I’ve seen . Love the flower with raisins and spinach petals. So cute. And it would make a child learn and eat veggies.
Thank you, Kim! They were SO excited to eat their spinach prepared this way, LOL.
So much amazing information here! I can’t wait to do a botany unit with my daughter — she’s going to love it. She already loves flower arranging! Thanks for putting together such a fantastic resource 🙂
Thank you, Nell! I think your daughter is already so well acquainted with natural science — I think everything you do with her is wonderful!
I love the idea about dissecting the flower. I know my youngest daughter loves hands on projects, so I am trying to figure out how to add more in to homeschool. Because I am not naturally a hands on learner. 🙂
I totally get you, Kristie! My daughter is really into crafts and science which is not my natural intelligence AT ALL. LOL. Thank you for stopping by, let me know how the journey to hands-on learning goes!
This is getting pinned right now. It’s especially perfect for us right now because my daughter has been way into flowers lately. Found you over on the A Little R&R Wednesday link up. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!
Thank you, Nicole! Lovely to “meet” you — I hope your daughter likes them!
This is such a lovely post. There are several things I will include the next time we are studying flowers.
Thank you, Cathie — and thank you again for those wonderful cards!!!
Hello! I love this article. I homeschool my three kids, and love gardening. Teaching them about botany has been a joy. I’m happy to say that you’ve been chosen as a feature on this Tuesday’s Laugh and Learn Link-Up. Thank you for sharing your great content.
Thank you so much for featuring me! I’ve been having so much fun linking up and seeing the other great ideas.
I have no luck with gardening, but I try! LOL.
Stopping by from Titus2sday and loving these ideas! So cute and smart : ) You’re little one is blessed to have a mama teaching her about God’s world!! Blessings to you!
Bethany, thank you so much for stopping by with your kind words!
Such amazing ideas – my 3.5 yo has been bitten by the botany bug, so these are great! Thanks for linking up at #WeLoveWeekends – you’ve been featured (again) this week! I hope you’ll be back to share again
Thank you, Meghan!
Thank you so much for all of your amazing ideas. We used some of them in a unit I did with my 2 little guys. I wrote a blog post about what we did and I linked back here. Thanks again!
Oh, awesome! I’m out the door to pick my daughter up from baking camp but I’m saving the link to check out tonight!
The cakes are really tempting – geometry dash lite