What to Pack:
- Flower cards (see below)
- Surf the Web. Look for photos of everyday flowers (daisies, roses, tulips, geraniums and so on) online. Print them out, write the name of the flower under each picture, and cut them into cards to take with you on your trip.
- Make a match. Give your child the flower cards and see if he can find a match at your local florist. Repeat each flower's name and see how many he can remember.
- Spy a color. Take turns naming a color and tracking it down. Say, "I spy a purple flower." Can your child find it? Name eight colors and let your child select matching flowers to take home. (Just keep an eye on the price.)
- Break it down. Point out the parts of a flower: petals, stems, leaves, perhaps roots. For older kids, point out the stamens and pistils.
- Count on flowers. Can your child find a flower with three petals? Five? More?
- Take a closer look. Compare flower shapes, sizes, patterns and textures. Which flowers are round? Star-shaped? Bell-shaped? Tubular? Find the smallest flower, then the tallest. Do any have spots or stripes? Which look feathery? Spiky? Compare the shapes of leaves, too.
- Follow your nose. Compare the scents of flowers. (Caution your child to smell, not touch, because some plants can be toxic.) Have your child find a scent he likes, close his eyes and follow his nose to find it again.
- Investigate. Ask your young explorer these questions: Why do you think flowers come in so many sizes, shapes and colors? (Answer: To attract different pollinators, such as bees, moths and birds.) Do all flowers have a scent? Do they all smell sweet? Why do bees like flowers? (A: They sip nectar inside flowers and use it to make honey.) Where do flowers live? (A: Not only in gardens, but on mountaintops, in deserts, in forests and fields, by roadsides, even in the water.) Can you think of any trees that have flowers? (A: Apple trees, dogwoods, magnolias and mulberries are just a few.) Can flowers move? (A: Flowers open and close and lean toward the light.)
- Take a whiff. Back home, let your child sniff a perfume or cologne. Did he know that many perfumes are made from the scents of flowers?
Read all about it. Check out Big Yellow Sunflower by Frances Barry and Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.
Bonus Explorer Activity At the florist, purchase a couple of white flowers such as carnations or Queen Anne's lace. At home, place them in water and add a few drops of food coloring. Presto-change-o! Soon you'll have colored flowers, a dramatic demonstration of how water travels up the stem of the plant to the flower.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for you child at Doratheexplorer.com.
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