Blooming Science: Pollinating Wonder with Flowers
For many people science feels intimidating. It is somethings that only really smart, slightly odd people do. Just look at the "Big Bang Theory!"
But in truth, science is all around us. I use it. You use it. Every day. We use when we talk on the phone, drive our cars, cook our food, and garden. And that's just the short list! So no need to go buy a pocket protector, you and your child are already scientists (even if you don’t see yourself that way!).
And what better way to find your inner scientists than with something we all love: Flowers!
Start by reading Orchids by Kim Bogren Owen (yes, by me). This short, simple book introduces children to not only the beauty and diversity of orchids, but also to biological concepts related to flowers and plants. Explore the concept of pollination and introduce the idea that flowers and plants work together for their mutual benefit (symbiosis).
Orchids have several tricks, from the size of their flowers to their odors, for letting their pollinator that they are there. Everything about an orchid speaks to where it grows and to who pollinates it. Surprisingly, orchids grow on every continent in the world except Antarctica. For more information about orchids visit Flowerweb: Fifteen Amazing Facts about Orchids and Rainforest Alliance: Kid’s Corner- Orchid. Of course, orchids aren’t the only flowering plants that do these things so expand your investigation with the following books.
The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller explores why plants have flowers, and who pollinates them. The book’s short amount of text on each page makes this book appropriate for children as young as toddlers, even though it includes a good deal of vocabulary. Don’t be afraid to use big words with young children. They are often able to get the concepts and it shows that you value them as intelligent and capable individuals which, or course, they are.
Plant Parts: Flowers by Melanie Waldron provides a general overview of how plants grow from seed to plant. This very scientific look at plants uses photographs to demonstrate each point in a plant’s lifecycle.
A Flower Grows by Ken Robbins takes the reader on the journey of an amaryllis as it goes from bulb to flower and back again. Appropriate for even toddlers, this book can used as a starting point for an experiment watching plants grow from bulbs or seeds. Just be aware that most bulbs are poisonous, so if you choose to use them do so with caution and close supervision of children.
Plant Life Cycles by Julie K. Lundgren provides a general overview of how plants grow from seed to plant. This very scientific look at plants uses photographs to demonstrate each point in a plant’s lifecycle.
Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm explains the process of photosynthesis and how most life on earth depends on plants for food and oxygen. This gorgeously illustrated book celebrating the ability of plants to turn sunlight into energy is a joy to read. While the concept of photosynthesis can be complex, this book makes it understandable to toddlers on up to early elementary aged children.
As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about flowers in the comments.
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