Flower Arranging for Young Toddlers
Flower arranging has become a daily activity in our house and it is AWESOME! I love flower arranging because it integrates some key practical life skills: pouring and care of the environment. Camden has been very interested in pouring water for the past month, so I have been trying to integrate pouring work as much as possible. I recently bought some lovely $1 vases at IKEA that seemed too big for flower arranging, but then I realized they were actually perfect for Camden right now because of how many trips to the water station it would take to fill them! I love how this tiny variation of the classic flower arranging activity that emphasizes pouring has absolutely captivated him. It was yet another reminder how important it is to observe his interests and find activities that are extensions of them.
This month, he has been drawn to work that requires a sequence of events. It makes total sense, given his love of practical life activities (hand washing, washing dishes, vaccuming) that he would go for this type of work on his shelves as well. I was TOTALLY blown away when he completed the entire sequence with out a single word of guidance from me. Being a parent is the greatest gift. I have definitely watched other people arrange flowers and have never found it particularly interesting, but watching Camden do it by himself is genuinely one of the best things I have ever seen. Seeing him completely focused on the task at hand, while handling ceramic and glass materials with care is like a dream! This is what we have been working towards! Having a front row seat for the development of a human is unbelievable. I am continually thankful for finding the Montessori method, which has given him such independence, confidence and respect for his environment at such a young age.
Before I go into how he arranges the flowers, I want to share a little about our water station. We have had a water station available to Camden since he was about 15 months old. Learning to use the water properly has been a long (very wet!) process, but at 21 months we are now officially there! He is now able to get a drink of water independently and use the water for other activities around the house (watering plants). With his sense of order in full swing, he is even very conscientious about cleaning up his own spills when he makes a mess.
Our water station includes a water dispenser, glasses, pitchers and wash clothes to clean up spills. I put push spout on the dispenser so that the water stops flowing as soon as he stops putting pressure on it, which helps reduce spills. I also never, ever put more water in the jug than I am willing to clean up :-) At first, I would only put half a cup in each time, but now that he has learned to use it I am comfortable using much more. To make it easier for him to use, I also put a circle under the spout where the glass should go. The circle is currently on a tray that helps contain spills because our kitchen floor is dangerously slick when it gets wet. He is still able to clean up the spills directly from the tray, but I don't have to worry about him slipping.
Flower Arranging for Young Toddlers
I made a tray with the two vases (these vases are similar and in my amazon cart!), pitcher, funnel and washcloth for wiping up spills. Camden and I have mostly been picking fresh roses from the garden each time he wants to arrange flowers, so he carries them into the house on a small tray and sets them directly on the table.
First he puts the funnel into the vase and then it is time for the water. It takes him about 8 trips to the water station to fill these vases. He is so focused when he does it, but is clearly having a blast! He is now able to hold the pitcher under the water while operating the spout at the same time. The first time he was filling the vase, I pointed out when he needed more water and when the vase is full. Now he checks the water level after each time he pours water in and says "more!" or "enough!"
Then he chooses the flowers and places them in the vase. These vases have very narrow openings, so this is the most challenging part for him. Next, he moves the completed vase over and starts the next one. After he is done, he wipes up the spills with the washcloth and the carries the wet cloth to the hamper.
We put one vase in one corner of his work table and the other on our kitchen table, so that we can enjoy them together. This activity has been such a huge hit, plus the pictures were just too beautiful to keep to myself!