Posted by : Karen Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wonder Workshops # 2 was inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflower picture - I've been doing a little reading on him as we prepare to do a more formal artists study (and by formal I simply mean more deliberate and compared to nothing up till now! All still in the thinking and planning stages!). And so the idea of being taken in by the wonder of the plants around us got a hold of me good and proper, and Fantastic Flowers and Perfect Plants was born!

First off, we started by seeing if everyone could remember each other's names, and what they enjoyed/didn't like about the previous workshop. I'm big on evaluation and hearing from the kids themselves, but I was thrilled that they all seemed to love WW#1! 

I then explained the game we were going to start with. Each of them had to smell, touch and taste a part of  a plant I would put into their hands - WHILST BLINDFOLDED! They were only allowed to take off their blindfolds once everyone had had a chance to feel the plant, and then on the count of three they could whip off their blindfolds and shout out what they thought it was.

I used:
  • mint , both leaves and flowers. Most guessed a sweet, some said the smell of chewing gum, some toothpaste :)
  • lemon grass (stem) - pretty clear there
  • cinnamon (sticks, bark) - they couldn't place this, but agreed it tasted sweet :)
  • fennel - only by biting the stems of it could we taste the licorice properly :)
  • ginger (root) - my boys both tasted this and ran to the kitchen for water!
  • garlic (bulb) - some guessed onion - pretty close!
I was amazed reading up on how fragrances are actually released from plants when you break their leaves or grate them etc...smell really is wonder - full !

After a play in the garden, they gathered in the lounge, and whilst merrily munching their snacks, I shared with them some wonderful plants I'd come across from these strange plants listed  here and these bizarre plants. Truly, I kid you not, go on over and take a long slow read. They're INCREDIBLE! As they ate I showed them pictures of each of the plants I had selected (I'd chosen 12 of the most awesome!) and talked about them. We also watched these two video clips - I'm sure you're all familiar with the Venus Fly Trap, but did you know about the most timid plant of all, the Mimosa Pudica that shrinks back when tickled?

Then the game began - by choosing a piece of colored card (out of a covered tub, no hurt feelings and always a different group to facilitate working alongside others) the kids set off to find 12 pictures in the garden of the plants we had talked about (stuck onto the same colored card they'd selected form the tub). Once they had found all 12, they had to remember any two facts about each plant and tell them to me - great fun was had! (although some cards disappeared, I hid them too well :(). There's also this great list of weird plant names which I never got to! 

Then a relaxing play, and the girls were eager and ready to start making some flower fairies! We used pipe cleaners, beads, wool and granny's old silk flower petals.

Now, I realised when the boys sat down at the table I was going to have to put a bit of a spin on these "fairies" for the I came up with many creative uses for their little people - and then they too got stuck in. Don't you love the difference between their people and the girls' (see below)?

Tell me you can see the Rastafarian please!

Can you see Rapunzel? And sleeves? Got to love the details!

And even though we only had 20 minutes to go, all were keen to turn our egg box bottoms into flowers and make a flower wreath.  After looking at flowers they'd brought from home, we began cutting. I was very impressed with what they managed to do in such a short period of time, and parents were very patient at home time (thank you!). Don't you just love how different all their flowers are?

A wonderful Wonder Workshop - and Belle was delighted to find everything still out when Granny dropped her off, and I was able to give her my undivided attention and she too created a wreath and a fairy - we had some very special time!

One Response so far.

  1. Aaahh... such memories to treasure... thanks for the plant links!! Very cool!!

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