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We love a free craft activity here at The Rainbow Tree. In fact it is one of my most satisfying successes when it comes to doing craft with my Little Feet. Not all craft can be free or cheap, however a lot of the most fun ones are. The ones that you think outside the box for. I’ve said it before on social media - nature is rich for the picking when it comes to entertaining your Little Feet. With each season comes new materials and offerings that you can use to spark imaginations. Yes, even Winter too!
Spring is full to the brim with flowers and with flowers come SO many easy and cheap outdoor and indoor art and crafts you can do. Over the course of a couple of weeks I’ll be sharing just a few ones you can do with your kiddos, whether preschool or older. Both my Little Feet love doing these flower crafts and they are 2 and 4 years. If I’m really honest, I love doing them too and I’m a little older then they are…
So, though you can go and buy flowers from the shops, we encourage you to get outdoors with your Little Feet. Do you have a fur ball? Walk them somewhere that is full of flowers, combine two activities in one. I often find if my Little Feet kick up a fuss about taking the dog for a walk I try and combine an activity with it as well. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable and fun it can be with the lack of whining Little Mouths!
Having said this, I do admit that I will on occasion buy a bunch of flowers to pad out an activity, but generally I try wherever possible to use what we find outdoors if it is a nature themed activity.
With Spring in full swing and Summer chasing it’s tails we love to get outdoors more and utilise everything. I love to make different types of sensory bins for the girls.
What is a sensory bin?
A sensory bin generally will have a theme and are in a plastic tub, or something self contained.
In them they will have something sensory in the form of toys, nature, utensils or food. Anything that has texture, smell, taste and so on. Items that stimulate one or more of a child’s senses. So they will appeal to taste, touch, smell, movement or hearing.
They are fantastic for learning through play, especially for preschoolers. They promise child containment of your Little Feet for a period of time. Yay! You may even be surprised to find your child playing for a full hour with a sensory bin you have pre-made.
Pre-made is the key to this type of activity. Sometimes spur of the moment craft works, but generally for a sensory bin planning has to happen. I would advise allowing yourself time to set it up without your Little Feet lingering and lurking around your around your feet like leeches.
This time, we have used ice play.
Ice sensory play is a really fun one to do, especially in the sun. It obviously doesn’t have to be done outdoors and is equally fun done at the kitchen table.
Find another Ice related sensory bin inked below, but with dinosaurs!
I decided to try out freezing some flowers in ice. We have some fun silicone ice cube trays that we use for whisky or cocktails and I thought that the shapes would add something different to them. I am really pleased with the result and it was really fun to see how they came out.
At this point it’s probably important for me to say it is in no way important to have any fancy ice trays. Any size will do, whatever you have in the house. If you don’t have an ice tray, what about some ice lolly moulds?
For the flowers and plants, we just used what we had in the garden and house. This meant a lot of them were daisies, dandelions, bluebells, buttercups, three cornered leeks (edible!) and anything else we could find.
What you will need:
Flowers (bought or from nature - we encourage you to go on some nature walks… it’s free after all!)
Ice cube tray - silicone or plastic, we have some fun silicone shaped ones (…for Mummy’s Gins off course!)
Tray or plastic tub
Go out and pick flowers, lots of them! Try and find an array of colours as this adds some fun visual stimulation.
Get your Little Feet place some in each ice section.
Gently fill with water and pop them in the freezer for 12 hours. We got them out the next day.
When frozen, get them out of their moulds. We find it easier when they are silicone moulds.
Pop them on a tray or plastic tub, if it’s nice weather put them in the garden or in the kitchen, wherever. If it is sunny watch as the sun melts the ice.
On your tray adds some squeeze pippets with some warm water they can add to the ice to watch it melt. Have some tweezers and tongs for them to pick the ice up if they don’t like touching the ice.
If you have any left over flowers with stems attached put them in with the ice, petals and leaves as well.
I’m not going to lie, I could have taken pictures of these Iced Flowers all day long. There is something so visually ‘juicy’ about them. They have easily been one of the most aesthetically pleasing sensory activities we have done for a while. I could have sat a looked and held these Iced Flowers all day long.
It is the first time I have really understood the pull of covering flowers with ‘resin’ like some jewellers do. I think the transience of using ice though. I think you unconsciously teach your Little Feet the lesson of impermanence. A moment in time, lost forever. Yes we can recreate these over and over again, but there will never be a semi-sphere with a frozen daisy that looks exactly like the ones here or a large ice cube with three cornered leek poking out.
FROM GARDEN TO FREEZER
A simple trick to make the ice clear and not misty is to use cooled boiled water. I’m not sure the science behind it but when is freezes it tends to do so with more clarity. We did a bit of both. It is absolutely not necessary though.
FROM FREEZER TO GARDEN
As we picked these flowers, I pondered at what other people had in their gardens around the world and thought it would be interesting to see the sheer variety of wild flowers or planted. So if you do go ahead and make your own Iced Flowers, we would LOVE to see your pictures. Tag us on social media #therainbowtreeblog and we will try and share as many as we can on our stories!