April Showers Bring May Flowers

Almost every week, we will publish a “Emerging Naturalist” post- a fun and simple activity, experiment, or basic scientific principle, written for kids and kids-at-heart! These will require little to no materials, and are designed to be a fun activity for the classroom or as an at-home activity with the family. We hope you enjoy, and as always, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment on a post or email us at seec@sou.edu.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/plantid2/drawings/flower.html
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/plantid2/drawings/flower.html

You have probably heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”.  And if you are lucky you may be noticing the first signs of spring flowers popping up in your neighborhood, parks and forests.  As the spring showers roll in we can begin to enjoy the flowers that thrive on seasonal rains here in the Pacific Northwest.  One way to remember and enjoy this season is by pressing and drying some of these flowers using a hand made flower press!

The Materials you will need to make your Flower Press:

  1. 8 four inch by four inch squares of cardboard
  2. 10 four inch by four inch squares of paper (maybe there is some in your recycling!)
  3. 4 rubber bands
  4. scissors
  5. a heavy book

What To Do:

  •  Cut your cardboard and paper into 4” x 4” squares or ask an adult to cut your cardboard and paper.
  • Layer one piece of paper between each piece of cardboard until you have an alternating stack.
  • Find the middle layer in your stack of cardboard and paper and add one or two extra pieces of paper.  This is the layer you will use to press your flower.
  • GO OUTSIDE!  Find a flower that it is OK to pick, you may need to check with an adult, and place it in the center section of your press.  Make sure your flower is flat and sandwiched between to pieces of paper.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-Flower-Press/
  • Re-stack all of your cardboard and paper so that the flower is in the middle and rubber band your stack together, making a lattice or criss-cross pattern with the rubber bands.  If the bands are not tight enough, wrap them around your stack another time.  The tighter your press the better your flower will turn out.
http://www.5orangepotatoes.com/blog/2009/05/23/make-a-portable-flower-press-for-your-herbarium/
  • Just to make sure, place a large heavy book on top of your flower press and let it sit for one week.
  • Once your week is up remove the book and rubber bands and gently remove your flower from your press.  Sometimes your flower still needs to dry a bit after pressing, so place it in a sunny window sill and enjoy its beauty.

Things You Can Do With Your Pressed Flowers:

*   Glue them to a card

*   Make a pressed flower collection

*   Identify the parts of flower using the diagram above

*   Glue them to the cover of your nature or writing journal

*   Give them to a friend or family member

http://mymommymakesit.blogspot.com/2010/06/flower-press-as-toy-papermaking-and.html

Have fun, continue to go outside and seek natural discoveries!

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