It’s a treasure trove all year round.
But particularly in spring.
One day last year, after the wind had been up, we found magnolia buds galore.
All blown off the trees in the walled garden.
They were a bit bruised and battered.
But when we poked around at them were fascinated by what we found inside …
And brought a bundle back to examine further.
And somehow got the idea of painting petal pictures.
Like all our nature crafts, it was the simplest thing.
We just painted trees with our watercolours.
Then pulled the flowers apart …
Cut up the petals …
And stuck them on …
In between having a peer under the microscope at the petals and the …
… fabulous magnolia core which has multiple stigma to receive pollen.
We had previously explored the structure of flowers and the names of different flower parts by dissecting daffodils but the magnolia had a surprise in store for us.
Curiously the magnolia has multiple stigmata. This allow multiple ovules or eggs to be fertilised which will grow together into an aggregate fruit. AKA as a blobby fruit 🙂 Blackberries and raspberries are aggregates too.
To extend this activity, see if you can a range of different fallen spring blossom or flowers in your garden that you can pull apart to compare the shape and size and position of the stigma and stamen and with older children go on to dissect the flower to reveal the ovaries and eggs.
All in all we were pretty chuffed with our petal paintings.
It was a lovely way to while away some quiet time in the garden.
Gently painting and cutting and sticking petals.
With just a bit of scientific investigation thrown in for good measure.
The paintings don’t last long as the petals brown.
But that’s a good excuse for doing some more petal paintings.
And having a poke around at some different blossom.
I do hope you enjoyed this. Do save it for later.
For more simple ways to enjoy exploring nature with children do check out my other plant life cycle activities for kids. These are all simple nature crafts and hands on projects that help children learn about the basic structure of flowers and trees, plant pollination by insects and wind plus seed formation and dispersal and more:
- Growing Mushrooms With Kids
- Dissecting Daffodils With Kids
- See Like A Bee Nature Hunt
- Life Cycle Of A Chestnut Tree
- Growing Pussy Willow Catkins Experiment
- Feather Writing On Tree Bark
And if you’re a Pinterest fan do follow my Nature Study For Kids board. It’s cram full of more wonderful ideas for exploring nature with children from some of my favourite bloggers and educationalists