Imagination · Nature · Play

Invitation to Play: Flower Station

“Nowhere in nature can you find purer color than sunlight passing through the petal of a flower” – Larry K. Stephenson

Every now and then I will set up an “Invitation to Play”, an activity of unstructured or open-ended play for the girls to do independently while I try get a little work done around the house. This is typically something that I will put out for those moments of the day where I know the girls will be bored or fighting constantly. For me, this is before lunch/nap and then in the afternoon from 2-4. These are the times where I know they will need some stimulation or just some quiet creative time. Sometimes it is a new puzzle (or an old one they haven’t done in a while), some drawing materials, or a new playing activity.

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My oldest, Lila, had her first ballet recital a couple of weeks ago and she received several beautiful bouquets of flowers that decorated our house. When they started wilting and not looking their best, these became the perfect material for a play activity that encourages the use of senses and imagination.

I set the flowers on a tray outside along with some pans, bowls, scissors, and spoons. I gave very little instruction besides letting them know they could use soil from a specific pot and the water hose if they wanted.

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The girls filled their pans with soil and then set to work ripping and tearing the flowers apart for their creations. They were very selective on the flowers and colors they chose and began placing them in the pans.

Imaginative play is an important component of child development. The process of play can help build emotional and social, language, and thinking skills. This activity provided them with an opportunity to pretend and create as they turned these nature creations into cakes, pies, soups and potions, and experimented with patterns.

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It looked like so much fun so I joined in and we collaborated together to make this rainbow. Lila had the great idea of adding the leaves and flowers for the grass, sun, and clouds! I loved how it turned out and I wish I was able to preserve the flowers so I could have framed it.

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When they moved onto the water with the flower parts their imagination took flight and they began role playing. The girls stirred, mixed, and pretended to be chefs. I overheard them communicating together as they “cooked” and decided when their soup needed more ingredients.

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This was such an easy activity with materials we had on hand but this could be done with natural items found in your yard or on a nature hike.

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