Sensory Play Blooms with Spring Flowers
Springtime brings with it a fresh scent in the air as everything begins to turn green and bloom again. The colorful flowers are no exception. Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth, Crocus, Primrose, and Peonies all bloom in the spring. After a long winter, their colors and sweet aroma remind us, the Earth has stopped hibernating and is flourishing again. This time of year presents a perfect opportunity for teachers and parents to engage children with fun craft activities. Kids benefit from arts & crafts in a myriad of ways. Using spring flowers as part of a craft project adds a sensory play component to double the benefit!
Microwave Pressed Flowers in Minutes
Did you know you can make pressed flowers in the microwave in mere minutes? It’s a fun (and safe) craft activity for homes and classrooms who have access to a microwave. Pressed flowers can be made into hundreds of different crafts, which help develop each child’s sensory, social, and fine motor skills.
How to Prepare + Heat Flowers
Cut the flowers as close to the bottom of the blooms as possible.
Lay the blooms on a paper towel. Then lay another paper towel on top of the blooms.
Place blooms inside the microwave. Weigh down the flowers with a microwave-safe dish. Make sure the flowers are completely under the weight. Tip: Microwaves all vary in strength. Use the defrost setting if you have one. If not, microwave your flowers in 30-second increments. Constantly check the flowers as you go. Keep heating the flowers until they are dry and appear flat.
Use Pressed Flowers for Sensory Crafts Now or in the Future
Once the flowers are dry you can use them right away, which makes this process convenient for classrooms. When kids are forced to wait too long, they can lose interest! This craft will satisfy their need to finish the craft in one day. If you don’t plan to use them immediately, store the blooms between two pieces of wax paper. Place a heavy book on top to keep them flat until your next craft project.
Fun-Filled Projects Using Pressed Flowers
Pressed Flower Butterfly Wings
Ethereal butterfly wings kids dream about can be crafted using just a thick branch, a few sheets of baking paper, clear contact paper, elastic loops, a hot glue gun, and (of course) flowers pressed in the microwave. First Cut two sheets of baking paper into wing shapes. Lay the sheet onto the contact paper and trace around it with a 5 cm gap from the baking paper. Lay pressed flowers facing upwards on the baking paper sheet. Peel the backing sheet from the contact paper and gently lay it down over the top of the flower arrangements on the baking paper. Use a hot glue gun to attach the branch to the center of the wings (so it looks like the butterfly body). Attach two elastic straps to the top and bottom of the wings with the glue gun as well.
Monogram Wall Art with Pressed Flowers
This craft requires a float frame, white tulle, a letter or icon, a low-temperature glue gun, and scissors. If float frames are not in the budget, then have kids create their monogram on cardboard paper cut to shape. Then they can take the craft home for their parents to frame or hang directly to the wall.
Explore & Document Nature with a Pressed Flower Journal
This craft requires a journal, tape, colored pencils, and for kids to collect and press flowers, plants or leaves on their own after you show them how it’s done. This gift keeps giving and requires kids to explore their world and take notes.
Create Pressed Flower Bookmarks
Bookmarks are perfect for encouraging kids of all ages to read. Friends and family members always appreciate bookmarks as gifts. Simply cut sturdy cardboard into a bookmark shape. Use a paint brush and craft glue to stick the pressed flowers to the bookmarks. Laminate them if you want your bookmarks to last longer. Create a hole with a hole punch at the end and tie a ribbon or tassel to the top.
Pressed Flower Sun Catchers
Sun catchers are easy to accomplish with just a few materials and blooms. Use two different sized plates to cut a hollow circle. Place the cardboard ring on the back of contact paper and trace around the outside. Do this twice so you have two clear circles made from contact paper. Peel the backing paper off one of the clear circles. With the sticky side facing upwards, place the cardboard ring on top. Decorate the inside, clear part of the ring with pressed flowers. Peel the backing paper off the second piece of clear contact paper. Align it with the ring and place over the top to secure the pressed flowers into place. Hang the sun catcher in a sunny place.
Make Pressed Flower Mason Jars
Kids can use any clear jar, milk container, or vase for this project – not just Mason Jars. It’s a great excuse to speak to them about the value of upcycling when they use something old. Use craft glue and a paint brush to stick flowers to the glass. Apply a topcoat of glue to make sure the flowers stay put! When no old jars or vases are available, a dozen mason jars can be purchased at Walmart for just $9.
Take Time to Stop and Smell the Roses
Sensory crafts need to be experienced. Try to encourage kids not to focus as much on finishing their project as on taking their time. After all, smelling and feeling the flowers is just as important as reflecting on their visual beauty. Ask kids to take a little extra time to create a comparison chart to reflect on the similarities and differences between how the different flowers feel, look, and smell. Children will expand their vocabulary during this process. Remember, combining touch with other senses during sensory play experiences builds cognitive skills most effectively. Craft projects, like pressing flowers, weave 3 sensory experiences into one, fun, learning activity!