Friday, May 16, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #14: Pressing Flowers

“Making and mastering a simple collection-a bookshelf museum, an aquarium, a garden if possible-will help in educating the habits of open eyedness, accuracy of vision, order and neatness.”
The Study of Natural History as an Educational Discipline-Part II by J. Arthur Thomson. Parents Review volume 7, No. 6 1896

“If the mother lacks a knowledge of plants, a good field guide will be indispensable, especially if she can find one that includes little facts and fun things about the plants. To collect flowers, press them and glue them to cardboard with the name in English, what kind of habitat it grows in, and when it was found…This is fun and educational.”
Charlotte Mason volume 1, page 51

We are now three weeks into our eight week focus on garden flowers. By now you should have had time to find some garden flowers to observe, perhaps have planted some seeds of your own, learned a few names for flower parts, and are ready to start a pressed flower collection.

I made a two minute video explaining how to make a very simple flower press for this week's challenge. Please watch the video and you will see that anyone can do this and be successful. (Please note that the videos that come up after my video are not mine so I do not know what they contain...just a caution.)

Outdoor Hour Challenge #14
Pressing Flowers

1. Gather a few common materials to use for pressing flowers. For your outings, select an old phone book or an old reading book that you can use to press flowers between the pages as you collect them. This will help transport your flower specimens home to where you can put them into a press. There is no need for anything fancy. We have been using cardboard, copier paper, and rubber bands to make a handy flower and leaf press. See video for an explanation.
(Here is the link:

2. Take your 10-15 minute outdoor time to look for some garden flowers in your local area. Observe your seeds that you planted in challenge 12, if you did that part of the challenge. Remember to use the correct labels for the plant parts that you read about in challenge number 13. Gather a few flowers to bring home to press in your own flower press.

3. Follow up in the Handbook of Nature Study with any flowers that you saw during your Green Hour time and that are listed in the table of contents. Use the observation ideas for your next outing to learn more about that particular flower.

4. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Work on drawing another garden flower. Remember that we will be working on flower drawing skills in week 15. If you have seeds growing, record their progress in your nature journal.

5. Add any new flowers to your list of garden flowers. If you are making field guide cards for your garden flowers, add another card this week. If you make one card per week, by the end of this focus period you will have eight cards completed.

6. Take the flowers that you gathered during your nature time and add them to your press. There is a definite technique for getting them to lay flat as you place them between the paper and the cardboard. Some flowers are better at laying flat and others you will have to squeeze sideways. Experiment as the next few weeks go by.

7. Post an entry on your blog sharing your experiences and then come back to the Outdoor Hour Challenge post and add your blog link to Mr. Linky.

Garden Flowers Cover

This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.
Follow the link below to view the ebook! Over 50 pages for $6.95

Please note: Mr. Linky is for linking to your Outdoor Hour Challenge blog post only. Please do not link to your blog in general because then when others want to read your challenge post, they have to dig around in your blog to find it.

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