“Children indeed love flowers, but they need to do something more than remain among them and contemplate their coloured blossoms.”Maria Montessori
Welcome! Thanks so much for tuning in! If you’re just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed of Housekeeping Week thus far:
- Skill School Week Three: HOUSEKEEPING🧺 “Let me do it myself!”
- Day One: ✨CLEAN SWEEP🧹; adventures in dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and window-washing!
- Day Two: 🧺WASH DAY👗 with “Dolly Dear”!
- Day Three: 🍽️HEY, DIDDLE DIDDLE DISHES🥄 and don’t you run off with that spoon!
I suppose arranging flowers would fall more under the heading of vocational arts than it would practical-life skills. However, in my own life I have found time and time again that knowing how to put together a bouquet can come in very handy, both in social and professional spheres.
For me, flowers have always just been there; a normal part of life. My childhood was blessed with an abundance of fresh herbs, home-grown fruits and vegetables, orchards of fruit trees, and fields of flowers— mustard, nasturtiums, sunflowers, chamomile, clovers, poppies.
The flowers were always so generous, it didn’t matter how many I picked—usually for no other reason than whimsy.
I would pluck a flower simply to press its soft petals to my cheek . . .
inhale a bloom’s sweet essence . . .
suction-cup a buttercup or poppy to my nose until I ran out of lung . . .
pop a smiling chamomile head into my mouth. . .
or sit down to pluck a lapful of “he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not” petals.
Flowers were snatched up, enjoyed for a fleeting moment, then discarded to the ground without care.
Youth and beauty free to enjoy youth and beauty before it fades.
Growing up, my mom was always making floral arrangements. All spring and summer long she would steal away to the garden and return a few minutes later with a basket of fresh blooms and green clippings. Then she’d set to work trimming them and displaying them on the dining table, on the kitchen window sill, on the piano; anywhere that could possibly house a vase. It was obvious to me from an early age that beauty in the home was held in as much importance by my mom as cleanliness.
When I expressed interest around maybe six or seven years old, my mom began teaching me how to arrange flowers. She’d always begin a floral arrangement lesson by declaring that she didn’t really know what she was doing. But then her fingers would fly and she’d toss together something amazing. I’ve seen this often in my life; the real experts are the ones just rolling up their sleeves, taking a confident “just-watch-me” attitude, and busting it out day after day.
Bouquet by bouquet, my mom taught me all her tricks: how to peel the leaves off the lower halves of the stems so that they fit into the mouth of the vase. How to cut all the stems the same lengths for a flat bouquet, stagger them for a whimsical or wild bouquet, taper them to make a rounded bouquet (her least favorite. . . “too bridal” she’d say), or stair-step them to make a tiered bouquet. She showed me how a little greenery improves every arrangement, and how to mix sizes and colors of flowers in ways that are complimentary. She taught me that for a bouquet to be truly perfect, it has to be ever so slightly . . . not.
As I got older, my mom began asking me to put together floral arrangements for holidays or special occasions when she was in a pinch getting everything prepared—mostly in the form of incredible food. And so, through years of intermittent practice, I learned how to make a fairly decent floral arrangement . . . but I had no idea how often in my adult life that skill would be called upon. I can’t count the times I’ve found myself being asked to make a bouquet (or fourteen of them) when desperate times have come ‘a-calling.
“Can you make a bouquet? You look like you would know how to make a bouquet!” is often how it starts, and I’m not even sure how to take that.
I’ve often wondered if I’m giving off some weird Martha Stewart vibe or something. But whether for a theatre banquet when the florist didn’t show up, or for a best friend’s bridal shower, or at a school staff event when the flowers arrived a mess . . . knowing how to arrange flowers has proved pretty practical indeed. Plus, putting together my own floral arrangements for parties and what-have-yous saves me a pretty penny year after year. And what’s more practical than saving money?
Housekeeping Week, Day Four: CENTER OF ATTENTION; Floral Arrangements!
“Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it for themselves.”Maria Montessori
SUPPLIES FOR THIS ACTIVITY:
For teaching a child how to pick flowers, please refer to my previous post: 🌼PICKING PRETTY💐 . . . plucking petals, herbs, and veg!
- a collection of vases on a tray
- child-safe scissors and an adult pair for you to assist with as needed
- a small pitcher or creamer
- a dish towel or sponge to clean up spills
- a big bowl or bucket of water
- an assortment of long-stemmed flowers and greenery clippings
1.) Assemble all the above supplies on a table, preferably outside.
2.) Direct your child to select a vase, and a first sprig to begin or “anchor” their arrangement.
3.) Show your child how to “test” the height of a flower or greenery stalk by lining it up with the vase and selecting how far down to trim it as to yield the desired height.
4.) Then, assist your child in trimming the stem or stalk, using the edge of the table.
5.) Next, demonstrate for your child how you can strip away lower leaves for a narrow-mouthed vase as well as for cleaner water as a bouquet ages. Also, show your child how she can cut off suckers” or flowers/stalks that grow off of a larger stalk and won’t appear above the mouth of the vase.
6.) Demonstrate or guide your child’s hands to show him how to gently add the flowers and greenery one stem or stalk at a time; first choosing where in the bouquet he would like to add the sprig, then tenderly pulling back the other flowers out of the way to insert the new addition. Encourage your child to take his time and to adjust heights or placement anytime he wants.
7.) Whenever your child desires, either before, during, or after the bouquet is complete, she can fill her vase with water by first plunging a small pitcher or cup into the big bowl of water, pouring it carefully into the vase (pulling back stems as needed), and cleaning up any spills along the way.
8.) Display your child’s floral creations proudly around your home.
Allow your child to help you choose where to put each floral arrangement, ensuring that at least one bouquet is designated as the centerpiece of the dining table.
for itty-bitty budding florists
For plucking flower top tips, refer to my previous post: 🌼PICKING PRETTY💐 . . . plucking petals, herbs, and veg!
SUPPLIES FOR THIS ACTIVITY:
- a bunch of child-plucked flower tops
- a bowl of water
1.) Show your toddler or preschooler how she can float flowers face up in the bowl of water.
2.) Step away and allow your little one plenty of time to arrange and rearrange her floating flowers.
3.) Display proudly just like you would a bouquet of twenty-four roses.
Thanks so much for following our HOUSEKEEPING SKILL SCHOOL! We had so much fun putting it together! Next up: SEWING WEEK!
Thanks ever so much for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~