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!
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: