Ah, Those Cows and Flowers

Spend a peaceful afternoon in the fields, enjoying the beautiful flowers and warm sunshine. Gentle cow and cork trees included!

We read The Story of Ferdinand, written by by Munro Leaf, and illustrated Robert Lawson (Viking, 1936). This literary classic tells the tale of Ferdinand, a bull who would rather sit and smell the flowers than fuss and fight. When he is mistakenly put in the bull ring, Ferdinand stays true to his peaceful nature and refuses to charge. It’s the ultimate tale of staying true to yourself and being happier for it.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 flower coloring template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Construction paper
  • Assorted pipe cleaners
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

This project is basically an alternative version of the flower boxes we made for this butterfly garden story time. We just used large tissue boxes instead of box tops.

finished butterfly gardenIn additional to using the flowers on the template, you can also use tissue paper to make lovely flowers, and use drinking straws and sparkle stems to add some texture!

Once the flowers were done, we headed out to the fields to meet Ferdinand the bull! I made him out of a couple shipping boxes. The back of the head was open so I could reach in, and I also cut a hole at the bottom of the head as a “mouth.” During story time, the kids offered their flowers to Ferdinand for sniffing. I had a little air pump inside the head that would puff air out and make the flowers tremble.

I have to say, the air puffs freaked a few kids out. But we also had a basket of red pom pom apples nearby to feed Ferdinand, and that was a massively popular activity. He ate apples for a solid 15 minutes!

This this isn’t the first time Ferdinand has appeared on the blog. You can see him enjoying the spring buds here (as well as a really cool wildflower identification website), and he gets a mention in our International Children’s Book Day list here. We love you Ferdinand!

Book Bouquet

The countdown to spring has begun, and we wanted to usher in the flowers with this¬† awesome bouquet project! With outdoor festivals in the future, this is a great little project to host at your library’s next special event, or just to brighten up your bookshelves at home.

You’ll need:

  • 1 craft stem
  • Poster board
  • White printer paper
  • Green construction paper
  • Hole punch and scissors for construction
  • Pen or pencil

First, the little book! The cover is a 3″ x 2″ piece of poster board, and the pages are white printer paper. Our books had 3 layers of pages. Fold the cover and pages together, then use a hold punch to create holes in the top and bottom of the little book like so:

In the above photos you’ll also notice the book flower’s leaves. Those are a piece of green construction paper I folded and cut to create two matching sides. Punch a craft stem through the middle of the leaves, then thread the craft stem upwards through the bottom hole of the book, then downwards through the top hole. Extend the pipe cleaner stem 1-2″ from the top of the book, and curl the end with a pen or pencil.

Push the leaves snug under the little book to keep it in place. You can leave your book blank, or add some words or illustrations to the pages!. If you squint really close at the lead image of this post, you’ll see that I filled my book bouquet with flower and garden jokes.

Including this gem: Sherlock Holmes was planting something in his garden, and Watson asked him what it was. Holmes replied “A lemon tree, My dear Watson.”

Flowers for Ferdinand

It’s warm, it’s raining, it’s spring, and that means FLOWERS! If there’s one character close to Katie’s heart, it’s the peaceful, flower-loving Ferdinand the Bull. Pair this simple project up with a nifty wildflower identification activity, and you have yourself a nature walk!

We recommend The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf, and illustrated by Robert Lawson (Viking, 1936). Read aloud here by Brighly Storytime. This tale of a peaceful bull who would rather enjoy flowers then battle in a bull ring is a children’s classic. And if you’d like to read Alexis Antracoli’s excellent essay during banned Book Week 2019, click over to the curatorial blog!

You’ll need:

  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Brown and white construction paper
  • Scissors and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Use the materials above to craft a bull, then head outside with your camera! Keep an eye out for plants and flowers, then take a photo of Ferdinand enjoying them.

Now to identify your botanical finds! Katie discovered this awesome website for flower identification, Wildflower Search. You can set your locations with the assistance of Google Maps and the site will generate an illustrated list of the wildflowers in your area. It’s an awesome resource!

Using the site, Katie was able to identify a bunch of flowers, as evidenced in this lovely spring photo montage. I think the Bull Thistle is my favorite:

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If you live in a more urban area, not to worry! Enter your location and see what happens…you might be surprised to find that there are more flowers then you expected. The screen shot of results I took for this post? That’s not New Jersey! I selected a location in New York City, Financial District, Manhatten. The site of famous Charging Bull statue to be exact.