Friday, May 15, 2015

14 Literacy Activities About Flowers

Last month's April showers inspired a post about Rainy Day Literacy Activities. Now that it's May, let's think about activities that will help welcome those May flowers!

Action Songs & Rhymes

These five activities are some of my story time favorites for the month of May. Each one encourages movement - either of the hands, or of the entire body.

  • Flowers Tall, Flowers Small 
    This rhyme can be done as a fingerplay, using your middle three fingers as the tall flowers and pinky and thumb as the small ones, or you can have a group of children pretend to be the flowers, making themselves tall and small, and then counting themselves off out loud. 
  • One Seed 
    The chorus of this song makes a perfect story time extension activity. Follow the motions suggested by Laurie Berkner in the music video (linked above), and watch how quickly kids and parents begin to act them out along with you! 
  • Sunny Day
    This soothing song by Elizabeth Mitchell is a good calming down song for the end of story time, or perhaps before naptime at home. The lyrics lend themselves to simple motions, which you can easily invent to suit your needs. 
  • There's a Little Flower Growing...
    Take the tune for There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in My Heart, and using paper, foam, or tissue paper flowers, have your kids pretend there is a flower growing on their heads, arms, legs, toes, elbows, and anywhere else that will make them giggle. (This activity would pair well with a silly book like Daisy Head Mayzie.) 
  • I'm a Little Daisy
    Sung to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot, this song gives kids the chance to stand like daisies, showing off their stems, leaves, and petals. 

Flannel Boards

These activities are best used on a flannel or magnet board.

  • Five Little Flowers 
    Any five flowers will suit this simple rhyme, which is about picking flowers in a garden. For Mother's Day, add in the final stanza (included in the link above), which talks about collecting the flowers to give to mom. 
  • Oh, Yellow Flower
    This folk song recorded by The Carter Family (and later, by Elizabeth Mitchell) has a simple tune that is very easy to learn, and with a few lyrical adjustments it lends itself very well to flannel board use. See more in my Flannel Friday post about the song. 
  • My Garden 
    I wrote this rhyme about flowers growing in a garden when I needed a rhyme for use with a specific set of felt flowers I bought at a craft store. The colors you need are pink, blue, orange, yellow, and green - but orange and pink can be changed to other colors if necessary, as the rhyme scheme does not depend on them. 
  • My May Garden 
    This piggyback song by Jean Warren based on Skip To My Lou provides a simple lesson on what is needed - seeds, sun, and rain - to grow a garden. Though the title refers to May, there is no mention of the month in the song itself, so it can really be used any time!
  • Five Little Seeds
    I have never used this rhyme myself, but it was featured as a guest post on Storytime ABCs a few years ago, and it's a slightly different take on the "five little flowers" idea. In this garden, three seeds become flowers, but the other two become weeds! This rhyme appears in a few places around the Internet, including Can Teach.

Games & More

Here are some more great ideas from around the blogs that will make great activities to celebrate flowers at home, in the library, or at school. 
  • Flower Letter Sorting Cups 
    The Childcareland Blog has a great idea for practicing letter recognition. Print out some flowers labeled with letters, then sort them by letter using plastic cups. Though the free printable has expired, the idea itself would be so easy to recreate using homemade flowers. The template is also available through the blog's Members Area, but there is a fee. 
  • Flowers in a Row 
    This game idea from Mailbox Magazine is similar to the sorting cups above, but it allows kids to pretend to "plant" each letter flower in a box of sand or soil. 
  • Spring Tulip Name Puzzle
    Last Spring, Sarah from How Wee Learn shared this great idea for teaching kids to spell their names - a flower-themed puzzle! Though Sarah's flower of choice was a tulip, you could use any flower you like. (I'm thinking a chrysanthemum, to accompany a certain Kevin Henkes mouse book, which is all about names...) 
  • Flowers in the Garden
    This coloring sheet from Crayola gives kids the opportunity to imagine their own wacky flowers. Provide some crayons or markers, then stand back and see where their imaginations take them!
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