Everybody sing the planting song

Every year we plant flowers on our balcony with E. who loves spring and the revival of nature (and her coming birthday too).

Usually I buy some plants at the flower market and we plant them together, like last year or the year before. Last year we also tried to plant carrots, tomatoes, and ruccola. Well, apart from the tomato it wasn’t a successful year (we had 8-10 cherry tomatoes in September), but we’d started plating really late, at the beginning of May.

To attune the girls to the revival of nature and planting I collected some youtube videos for them, mainly songs. Here are their favourite ones (that they learnt by heart within 2 days):

The Planting Song

Parts of a plant

One seed

How plants grow

Peppa pig-Gardening

However, this year I was all prepared. I bought these cute plant nurseries at the Flying Tiger Shop and some seeds in one of the big supermarkets. (We collected some seeds from our balcony flowers, too, 2 years ago and I accidentally found the envelopes.) One of the ladies at the market who I get on really well with gave some spring onion bulbs to E. to plant.

We had a 4-day long weekend due to our national holiday, 15 March and we used one of the days to do the planting.

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I put down and old wax table cloth on the floor and fixed it with painter’s tape. Then prepared all the necessary ingredients:

  • dirt (in another word soil)
  • seeds (this year we planted radishes, gurkins*, carrots, basil, tomato, poppies, and snapdragons.)
  • spoons (next year a really need to purchase some kid-size gardening tools)
  • plant nursery

Before starting the planting procedure I showed them the parts of a flower聽cards and they put them in the right order: root, stem, leaves and flower. E. placed the word cards next to them. (The link above will take you to the site where you can download your own copy if you wish.)

The girls scooped the dirt in the little holes. L. was making the sound of a digger聽while doing it. And for her that was it all. She lost interest in planting very quickly. She went to her little kitchen and cooked some food for Daddy.

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But E. was really enthusiastic about it. She told me which seed to plant first , she opened the packets and envelopes that hid the seeds. She observed the seeds carefully noticing their different shapes, sizes and colours. (It was quite fascinating to see that the tomato seeds were blue and the poppy seeds were really tiny.)

She also wrote the name of the plants on a wooden stick so we’ll know later on which sprout is which plant.

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E. made holes in the dirt with her index finger and dropped the seeds, next covered them with some more dirt. When we finished with all of them she watered them lightly.

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E. enjoyed it some much and was so excited about the planting that she was staring at the plant nursery nearly all afternoon. She was talking to them and wanted to water them more. This gave us an opportunity to talk about that giving the plant too much water or sunshine does no good.

The next day our radish and gurkin sprouted and E. saw a gurkin loop in the dirt. She started to call them Loopy and ran to find her Ikea plush gurkin/cucumber.

After a few days I offered her to draw what happens to the plant in a plant diary. She wanted to draw only the radish and the gurkin although every seed had started to sprout by this time. She measured them and drew how they changed size and colour, how they grew.

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The next phase was to put them into bigger pots. Unfortunately we waited too long and planted the seeds too close to each other so we had a hard time to separate them. It might happen that they won’t survive as both the roots and the stems were rather weak. The radishes went to the balcony in a long pot, the gurkins were planted into bigger round pots with 2 wooden sticks and a string between them to provide support for the future vines.

Still E. is talking to them kindly and taking care of them with great care. Whoever comes to us has to have a look at the plants. Her plant diary is coming along really nicely. Soon we need to replace the other plants into bigger pots (we ran out of soil).

Stay tuned, there’s more to come, hopefully you can see beautiful flowers and tasty veggies.

*I found 2 ways of writing gurkin/gherkin. The latter is more common but I used the first version in this post. When I asked E. if she could spell it, she spellt it gurkin 馃檪

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Welcome back, storks

The first stork came back from Africa on March 3聽this year (2017). I showed pictures of him in his nest (his name is B谩r贸) to E.

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E. got excited. For quite a while she hasn’t been excited about anything but water animals therefore I myself got excited too.

I quickly looked up a stork craft online and found this cute and easy-to-make paper napkin storks. We watch the how-to-make video together with E. Of course, to make the stork was too difficult for her, so I made them.

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What she did was the decoration. We did the whole craft in 2 goes. First, we made B谩r贸. E. took him to bed, she even drew pillows for him. Not to mention that he was hurt during the flight (E.’s imagination is unlimited, in real the stork had no problem whatsoever) so she drew some medicine bottles too.

B谩r贸 is in progress:

She asked me to make some more storks. She wanted to give some to the Grandmas whose birthday and name-day were coming.

Then I made some more and she decorated some more. First, colouring them with markers:

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Then adding water onto the napkin:

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We talked a lot about bird migration: why they fly away and how they can fly so much. We also looked at a map where one can see the flying routs of individual storks. Some bird related vocabulary like feathers, beak, wings, nest, fly, flight were revised as well.

Spring has arrived with our storks.

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Peony petals suncatcher

I’ve seen tons of suncatcher ideas on pinterest and I’ve always wanted to try it with E. As the bunch of peonies I’d got from my mum for Mother’s Day started to lose their petals, the right time came to make our first sun catcher.

As it was a sudden idea when E. started to play (collect and cut) the fallen petals I didn’t have time for too much preparation.

I took out our sticky paper (originally it’s self-adhesive school book cover) and drew a flower on it (the transparent backside) with a permanent marker. (You can cut a flower shape outline out of paper and stick on the sticky side but I needed to be on the double). I pulled off the white part and fixed it on the table (with cello tape). I also presented some leftover yarn and green leaves on a tray apart from the petals.

E. did the sticking.

 

I wanted to talk about the different parts of the flowers but she wasn’t interested. Maybe at another time. She was too busy with the sticking.

Then when she told me she’d finished I put another sticky sheet over it (sticky side facing down) and cut along the flower outline.

The last thing E. needed to do was to stick the suncatcher on the window (with some Cello-tape, but you can also hang it)

I’m sure we’ll do some more suncatcher crafts.

Colour changing flower experiment

As a part of our flower project in spring we also dealt with a little science. More precisely, how flowers absorb water through their stems reaching the petals. This colour changing carnation experiment gave me the idea, but there were some glitch in the matrix and we needed to do it twice. Let’s see how.

The flower experiment idea is great, however, we did something wrong or were just unlucky this time.

First of all, what you need to the project:

  • 4-5 white flowers of any kind (chrysanthemum didn’t work very well, carnations were better)
  • food colouring (4-5 colours, or you can mix them)
  • transparent glasses or viols
  • water
  • measuring cup
  • spoon
  • towel for spills
  • scissors
How to do it:
  • prepare everything on a tray for you child and she/he can do all the activities
  • add water to the glasses/viols
  • add the food colouring and mix them with a spoon
  • cut the stem of the flowers (10-15 cms long)
  • make the flowers stand in the glasses/vases

  • wait… minimum 1 or 2 days
In case of the carnations the colouring of the petals could have be seen the next day,
but in the first trial the chrysanthemum took 3 and a half days to show any signs of pigmentation.

While E was preparing (pouring water, cutting stems, mixing colours) the experiment I asked her what she thinks will happen. She didn’t have a clue.

– I don’t know Mommy, You say.

Then I explained what the聽coloured聽water will do:
– The stem will suck up the water, like you suck it up through a straw. (Then she imitated sucking 馃檪 )
– The coloured water will be absorbed. (she was digesting the new word)
– The water will reach the petals and they will turn red (I pointed at the flower standing in red water), green (I pointed at the flower standing in green water), blue (I pointed at the flower standing in blue water) and yellow (I pointed at the flower standing in yellow water).

In the first round after a week the chrysanthemums started to wilt so we could not observe any more colours on the petals.

In the second round of the experiment, while I was cleaning, I put the carnations on the floor light-mindedly. Then E. accidentally kicked them over. So after 5 days our second flower experiment was over. 聽Anyways, we could see the pigmentation of the petals somehow.

She enjoyed preparing the experiment more than the result. Who could blame her after all…?

Let me know if you try this experiment and have better results, let’s say, after 10-12 days.

Spring nature hunt with a muffin tray

Spring has arrived, together with some rain but luckily today it’s been sunny so we went out for a spring nature hunt.

I got the idea on mamapapabubba.com.聽This blog is written by a Canadian mum, Jen and she’s got great ideas I love stealing. The spring nature hunt is one of them.

So I was in a rush to prepare everything, because in the park where I was planning to do the nature hunt the grass is growing very high and it is likely to be mowed in the near future. Then we would lose all the wild flowers, high grass and our fun activity.

I’ve got and old muffin tray. It was in a very poor condition, so I sprayed it gold. This served as the receptacle (= a new word for me meaning: a container for storing or putting objects in)聽Then I asked Daddy to print the pictures of some nature items that I’d put together the previous night.

Our native nanny, A. arrived at 10.30 today and we were ready to set off.

E. is identifying what to look for

At firs E. was carrying the tray around, then we put it in the push chair.

E. is not a great fan of walking (she prefers to be carried), but this time she was running around looking for the items on the list, filling up the tray.

I thought it wouldn’t be easy to find seeds, so I took some wheat seeds with me from home, but A. was very attentive and found some. I didn’t need to fake anything 馃檪

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I knew exactly where we could find some moss. (E.’s favourite word from the list)

We also bumped into some bees and beetles we needed to observe closely.

 

One of E.’s favourite flowers is the dandelion and its clock. Now she didn’t blow the seeds away, but collected them in the tray.

 

E. succeeded in tucking a big horse chestnut tree leaf in the hole. Well done, girl!

We found a shamrock with four leaves. We’ll be lucky 馃檪

Finding soil fascinated E. the most.

It was hard to find buds, but we managed in the end.

At home A. and E. went on to read E.’s nature book she got for Easter.

 

I’d like to thank Jen for the great idea. We spent a lovely hour with searching, enjoying the sunshine and learning a lot about nature.