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  • Writer's pictureKeith

Weekly Activities - Oshibana (Flower Pressing)

Book of the week

RSPB first book of flowers by Anita Ganeri and David Chandler.



This book is ideal for children starting to show an interest in nature. Beautiful full-page illustrations are complemented by key information about each flower... they make a wonderful introduction for children to the world around us, and they are so attractive and easy to use that children will find them a real encouragement.


Weekly Activities

We discussed with the children what the Japanese word 'Oshibana' meant... the art of using pressed flowers and other botanical materials to create an entire picture from these natural elements. We talked about what they could pick to use for the activity and where they can look for plants, flowers and leaves in and around the nursery. We also discussed symmetry, how if drawing a line down the middle of a shape it will be the same on both sides, like a mirror image if it is symmetrical. We talked about symmetry in nature, such as people’s faces, butterflies, flowers and snowflakes. Before starting the activity we had a recap on how to use the hammer and loppers safely and to be mindful of those around us.

We encouraged the children to select natural materials with a high-water content, not ones that were decayed or dried out. The children started by making a pattern on one side of a folded line with their collection of petals, plants and leaves and then sandwiched it between folded paper or a piece of muslin cloth and to repeatedly hit it with a hammer all over until the natural dye visibly bled through the top side. They opened out the paper/muslin cloth and removed the excess plant material to reveal the natural symmetrical pattern beneath. Some children wanted to turn their prints into flags so after finding a suitable stick, we cut it to size with loppers and then attached the cloth onto it using small nails.

After the activity we encouraged the children to show what they had made and to talk about the marks and natural patterns. We recapped as a group about how the children went about their natural print and what natural materials they chose, used and why. 

Aims and Objectives

  • Support the children with their hand-eye coordination by developing their fine motor skills through picking up and positioning natural found materials to form a pattern

  • Develop their gross motor skills through extending their tool use by using a hammer and loppers

  • To explore media and materials and mark making, to have the opportunity to be creative, designing a natural dye print using different natural shapes and colours

  • To gain an understanding of ‘symmetry’ and pattern and to draw their attention to examples in nature

  • To familiarise themselves with leaf patterns and to identify the trees that they have come from, as well as to learn the names of the flowers and plants that they find, by listening to what they are called or seeing the words written down

  • To grow in confidence in talking in a familiar group about what they have made


Home Activity

Go on a nature walk and collect some flowers to make flower crown.

A nice way to draw children in to spotting the variety of plant life around is to make a flower crown. As you walk along you can gather some of the flowers you see ready to make a garland or paper crown onto which you can stick the flowers.

Use the opportunity to talk about which plants it's ok to pick and which aren't (if you're unsure, just stick to ones you know such as daisies and dandelions).

Show your children how to carefully pick one or two flower heads, making sure to leave the remaining plant intact. Teach them that the butterflies and bees need the flowers, so only to pick a few, with care.

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