***This lovely post is contributed by my friend and colleague Heather Jackson. She is a wonderful movement teacher and has online offerings that can be found on her website. I highly recommend her virtual prenatal workshop if you are pregnant. It saved me during my third pregnancy.
Not only is the following activity fun and beautiful, it can help to help kids (and probably parents) get out some of their frustrations from all of the routine changes and isolation.
We are two weeks (or so??) into the stay-at-home order in our state, and coincidentally, I am just about two weeks post-partum. Weird timing, right? I am currently at home with my husband, our 2.5 year old toddler, and a newborn. Turns out, toddlers don’t care if mama needs to rest and can’t entertain them 36 hours a day.
So today I took some inspiration from our Tinkergarten classes that we did in the winter months at the beginning of this year and the toddler and I collected flowers, buds, and herbs from our backyard to create frozen nature treasures!
We went out in the morning with a big bowl and looked around the yard discussing what kinds of treasures we would like to find - how about these purple flowers? What about these yellow leaves on this bush? Over here is a bunch of purple dead-nettle, can you say that? Lovely, let’s put them in our bowl! There is no obligation to know the names of the wild plants and flowers in your backyard. I can identify about four or five, and only because someone taught them to me multiple times. Take photos and look things up if you want! Or don’t. Your kid will probably only care that this one is purple and it’s pretty. I had mine look on the ground and in the air to see if he saw anything in particular we wanted to collect.
After we collected a decent amount of treasures, I got out a muffin tin, and we filled the cups with flowers and plants. Next I grabbed our watering can, and together we poured water into each cup - definitely leave a little room for the water to expand as it freezes. Stick the pan in the freezer, eat lunch, take a nap, and then (as if by magic) your nature treasures will be frozen!
Post-nap, we brought the muffin tin out onto the porch and dumped out all the muffin-sized treasures, talking about how they were cold and hard and what colors were inside… and then we smashed them with a rubber mallet! If your kid likes destroying things as much as mine, this part of the activity will be a HUGE hit.
All in all, we got a decent amount of outdoor time, between collecting and destroying, my kid was super into it (he talked about the treasures the rest of the day), and we got to experience a whole lot of colors and textures in a very hands on way, without my having to do very much physical work that I’m not quite ready for. Success!