Spring, summer, and early fall are excellent times to enjoy blooms each season has to offer. If you have a child who loves nature or who enjoys flowers and art, this is a great Adventure Box!
The nice thing about a Flower Press Adventure Box is how it combines science, nature, gardening, and art all together into one. We’ve really enjoyed collecting and pressing flowers over the years and R12 even took a Flower Pressing co-op class a year and a half ago. We love the projects she put together.
I love a good walk! And my kids are usually eager to join me. This Adventure Box will call for plenty of walks to search for wildflowers. For flower collecting, you’ll have to find a walk with a good supply of wildflowers which are OK to pick. Remember, State Parks and Nature Sanctuaries don’t make good flower picking spots!
When you go on a wildflower walk, you’ll want to take a few things along with you! We always take field guides and some small petri dishes. These dishes make great collection dishes for your flowers. R12 likes to carry her things in a small drawstring bag.
Recommended Field Guides:
- A Peterson Guide to Wildflowers
- Wildflowers of North America – Usborne
- Field Guide to North American Wildflowers– Audubon
- Peterson First Guide to Wildflowers
- Wildflowers, Blooms, and Blossoms
- Flower Finder– a dichotomous key to identifying plants and their flowers. These don’t use picture identification, but they focus on aspects of the plant’s anatomy to narrow down the species.
- A Golden Guide: Flowers– an oldie but goodie field guide
Just a note on where to pick up field guides– the library has them, but I like to have them on hand for all of our nature activities. My best source has been our Friends of the Library book sale. They have a large nature section with gobs of guides. I go twice a year to check the stash. Even an older version of a field guide will yield plenty of information for your student.
Once your specimens are collected, it’s time to press them. You’ll want to press them right away so they don’t become dry and brittle. There are lots of materials you can use to press flowers. We like the press below the best (sorry for the bad picture!). It’s a flower press from Home Science Tools. It’s easy to use and has these nice straps that clasp like a bag which wrap around the press and allow you to pull it tight. There’s also a lot of surface area for pressing.
Throughout the season, it’s fun to see what blooms along the roadsides and it will keep you busy collecting all during the growing season. Of course, some of us have longer growing seasons than others…being in upstate NY we don’t have a long one. We need to get out while we can!
There are a variety of homemade flower presses as well ranging in complexity. R12 made this wooden one with the screws that will put your eye out in her co-op class. This was a nice sturdy version, but the screws are unnerving to me and if you don’t have a lot in the press, it takes a long time to tighten the wing nut. Still, this one is nice and she decorated it with pressed flowers.
There are a lot of books you can add to this Adventure Box. We have a long out of print Klutz book on flower pressing called,Squashing Flowers & Squeezing Leaves, but there are others out there. This one comes with a press in the back of the book.
If you are looking for a frugal way to press flowers, look no further than your phone book! Remember those? We live in a small town and our phone book is plenty adequate. You need paper for pressing even with a more formal press, so this is an all-in-one model. This method requires some heavy books to sit on top for the duration.
Plant identification is another aspect of flower pressing. R12 made a card set with the pressed flower and its common name. You can go a step further and add the scientific name and even make a book of flowers.
You can find directions for pressing flowers in many places. We read about it first and dove right in with a phone book after reading a section of The American Girls Handy Book.
You might enjoy a look at how Barb from The Handbook of Nature Study blog shows how to make a flower press. She has a short video on to make one easily.
What would flower pressing be without making something with your pressed flowers? There are so many choices and sources for crafts using pressed blooms. You can do a search on Amazon for flower pressing and many titles come up. We like the book Nature Printing which has ideas for flowers and other natural elements.
Some of the basic flower crafting supplies include:
- Elmer’s clear glue
- special papers- cardstock and pretty printed papers
- Items for displaying flowers- soap, jars, stones, candles, small boxes, and anything else that has surface to take up the glue
Of course, a simple way to enjoy flowers is just to draw and paint them. We have a few favorite resources for this.
- Keeping a Nature Journal
- Nature Connection
- Drawn to Nature
- Water, Paper, Paint
- Blog, She Wrote’s Pinterest page has a Nature Board. Lots of fun ideas here for drawing and painting nature
- Handbook of Nature Study blog– has not only studies but ideas for how to draw and paint in nature journals
There are so many things to focus on when it comes to wildflowers! I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at some of the ideas on a Flower Pressing Adventure. Remember any project your child chooses has the potential to become a passion. Be ready to pour into it and allow your student to grow while he takes charge of his own learning.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing ideas for an Exploring Adventure. Please join me! Feel free to leave a comment and let us know if you’ve ever done work with flowers.
Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are sharing a series this week through iHN’s Spring 2013 Hopscotch.