Artfully Outdoorsy Montessori: Planting Bulbs! A Lovely Way to Celebrate the Season!

LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN PLANT FLOWER BULBS. IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR! 
Welcome to the Montessori Bloggers Network 15 Days of Montessori for the Holidays. I am so excited to be a part of this festive blogging marathon!
Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

What is more exciting than discovering the first buds of daffodils pushing through the cold earth of the early Spring? 


Photo of budding daffodils by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

How about seeing the flowers opening right in the classroom   during the darkest days of winter to add that spark during the holiday season!


Photo of forced tulips by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

When my own children were young, I discovered a lovely book with gazillions of unique activities for celebrating holidays and the seasons with children. Diana Carey's, Festivals, Family and Food quickly became a mainstay for our family as well as a reliable resource for activities to offer to the children in my Montessori Preschool classroom as well.


This book is available from Amazon at this link: Festivals, Family & Food

One of my favorites from this book is the idea of planting bulbs around the time of Halloween as a wonderful opportunity to explore the cycles of nature that children are discovering in their world. 

Over the years, I have greatly enjoyed offering to young children an extensive process of planting bulbs in indoor pots during the crisp days of Autumn. Then, their bulbs are beginning to flower in time for the holidays. This is actually called "forcing bulbs." These potted bulbs are wonderful gifts for the children to take home to their families.
SCRUBBING THE POTS

We start with clay pots, and these are some of my favorite things in all the world! I search around for previously used clay pots that are dirty and need some real scrubbing.


Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

You can offer clay pot scrubbing to children in an outdoor environment by setting it up at the water table in the Outdoor Classroom. There are some wonderful extensions to this activity in my past post at this link: Look What We Did With A Clay Pot! 

Here's the Montessori style tray set-up for a more individualized pot scrubbing activity that can actually be on the Practical Life shelf in the indoor (or outdoor) environment.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company
DECORATING THE POTS

After the pots are scrubbed, then the children enjoy painting decorations on the outside of their pots. Simple tempera paints are very satisfying for clay pot painting since the clay of the pot really absorbs the paint well. I use a sharpie pen to write the child's name on the inside of the pot up near the pot's rim.  Then, I explain that s/he will be painting decorations on the outside part of the pot.  Next, the child turns the pot upside down and paints away!  Remember to have a protected area for the newly painted pots to dry overnight. 


Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company
PLANTING THE BULBS IN THE POT  

The next day, the child is ready to start planting! I like to offer a choice of bulbs for the child. Two different bulbs like tulips and daffodils are appropriate since many children know these flowers already. However, I personally love Hyacinth bulbs and they are always popular with little children because of their purple flowers. I place a photo of the matching flower in the baskets that hold each bulb available for the child to choose.


Flower photos by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Children greatly enjoy filling their clay pot with fragrant soil. I provide a child size hand trowel and a big tub of garden soil. Each child prepares their pot by filling it to just below where their name is written on the inside of the pot. 


Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

It's important that the adult show the child how to place the bulb in the soil with the root end pointing downwards.
ATTACHING THE RIBBON TO THE POT


Since the children will each be taking home their potted flower bulbs, it is a good idea to attach a little tag that has instructions on the care of the bulb.  
SPRING FLOWER BULB
ADD LUKEWARM WATER TO THIS POTTED BULB & SET IT IN A COOL, DARK PLACE FOR 8 WEEKS. KEEP IT MOIST AND WHEN THE SHOOT COMES UP MOVE IT TO A LIGHT-FILLED LOCATION AND WATER DAILY. 
I like to provide a colorful ribbon with the instruction label already attached. You can also turn the instructions into a sweet holiday card for mom, dad, grandparents...! 


Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

If you choose the type of ribbon that has a wire edge, then the child can wrap the ribbon around the clay pot and then twist the ends of the ribbon to secure it. Older children may like to actually tie a bow to secure the ribbon around the top part of the pot. Get the free printable by clicking the link at the end of this post! 
MAKING A "FLOWER BULB TIMELINE" BOOKLET


 I love to introduce Timelines when everyone is celebrating the NEW YEAR! You can use this Montessori Style Flower Bulb Time Line in several ways. Get the free printable by clicking the link at the end of this post!
  • CHILD'S BOOKLET: Print off the blank templates for children to make their own booklets
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company
  • MATCHING ACTIVITY: Print off two of the Flower Bulb Time Lines pictured above (download link is at end of this post) and create a simple matching activity for the child. Keep one control copy intact and then cut the 6 sections from the second copy and invite the child to arrange/match.
  • SEQUENCING ACTIVITY: Copy the timeline pictured above, cut out the six sections, laminate each, and apply magnetic tape to the back of each. Use with a metal cookie sheet and have the child arrange the six sections in the correct order.
  • NATURE JOURNAL: Make a nature journal with the blank templates in the printables at the end of this link. Copy the templates onto lightweight watercolor paper so that the child can paint each section, then hole punch and put together in a journal form. Click to see this idea for making a beautiful nature journal: Kelly Johnson's Nature Journal Making lesson plan at Age of Montessori.

You can learn more about flower bulbs by clicking here: Old House Garden: Fall.

And, I definitely recommend putting an Amaryllis bulb in the children's environment so that it is in bloom by Christmas or New Year's Day. One four year old boy who had been carefully observing our Amaryllis, came to me excitedly and said, "Ms Carolyn, that flower is just bursting out! " 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Here are the free printables mentioned above: Magical Movement Company Flower Bulb Printables.
This article is part of the fabulous 15 Days of Montessori for the Holidays and there are still eleven more days of amazing ideas to check out! Click here to link to tomorrow's post, Montessori Practical Life for the Holidays! And, if you missed the posts so far there are lovely ideas about Divali, Christmas Trees, and Family Traditions Montessori-style!



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It's delightful to have you visiting my Blog and I hope that you have enjoyed this post. I would love to hear your ideas, so please feel free to leave a comment in the section below!




Stay tuned for MORE about FLOWER BULBS & little children. I'm working on my UPCOMING POSTS featuring MUSIC, DRAMA & PICTURE BOOKS  for the STUDY OF FLOWER BULBS and PRESSED Autumn LEAVES for beautiful SEASONAL CARDS!
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10 comments :

  1. Such a brilliant idea! We used to do it all the time in our classroom during winter season back in Russia and it did feel like magic to see flowers bloom in winter.

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    1. Thanks, Anastasia, for your sweet comment! Yes, it is something like magic! So nice to hear about your school experience back in Russia.

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  2. Hi Carolyn! I think you have a sort of Midas touch, only instead of turning to gold, everything you touch just turns beautiful! Thank you for your really lovely post!

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    1. What an incredible complement coming from folks who are so dedicated to preserving the natural world! I am honored that you are here visiting my blog and thank you for such a lovely comment!

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  3. I love this beautiful post so much! I love the idea of blooming a flower in the middle of winter. :) Little Bee and I may need to give this a whirl!

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    1. I think Little Bee will totally have a beautiful experience. Little children add some kind of magic green thumb to gardening and their wide eyed wonder is to be cherished. Thanks so very much for this sweet comment, Vanessa!

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  4. Lovely post! Inspired by your post, I think planting bulbs should be in everyone's calendar at this time of year.

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    1. Thanks, Simone. I am inspired by your posts, too! Yay! for bulbs...they are so impressive and fairly easy to grow.

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  5. Carolyn I really like how you organised this activity. You thought over all the details. You added the timeline cards. This is very cool! Thanks for the idea

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    1. I love hearing from you Katherine, and I'm happy that you enjoyed this post! Hope you enjoy doing this with your little ones.

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