As seasons change, HFP children celebrate the wonder and shifting beauty of the earth’s cycle. Autumn school days are an opportunity to embrace the warm colors and delightful textures of nature’s harvest. October is a perfect time to explore the amazing gifts of sunflowers.
Children carefully collect yummy seeds, appreciating that they are tasty treats for birds, squirrels, and children alike.
Children connect with the earth and its bounty as they identify the origin and harvesting practices of the food that nourishes them. Fine motor skills are tested and exercised as tweezers pluck each seed from its botanical nest. Friends are nearby to assist and encourage.
Parents and children prepare a variety of snacks featuring sunflowers.
We compare the roasted, salted sunflower seeds to the seeds we’ve harvested. We assemble carrots and yellow peppers into the sunflower petals surrounding sunflower butter-covered rice cakes. And we build sunflowers using green beans as stems, cucumbers as leaves, and triangle shaped cheddar cheese slices for petals.
Art is a wonderful way to explore the beauty of the natural world, and a sunflower makes a bold and dramatic subject.
Children creating their own versions of these happy blooms capture the glory of autumn’s performance in gold, brown, and green. Color theory becomes a hands-on learning experience when children discover the possibilities of paints and brushes. The rewards of creativity are shared when children witness and appreciate the uniqueness of everyone’s talents and skills.
A game of hide and peek is a fun way to utilize natural objects while exploring themes of identity and social relationships. Imagination is all that’s necessary for giant sunflower leaves to become peek-a-boo masks in a circle song, “Sunflower leaf, big and wide… Who does it hide?”
We choose engrossing books that relate to the topic at hand. One of our favorites that supports friend-making and the power of sunflowers, is The Sunflower Sword by Mark Sperring & Miriam Latimer.
Synopsis: In a land filled with fire and smoke and endless fighting, where knights fight dragons, there lives a little knight who wants to be big like the others, and fight like the others, and have a sword like the others. But his mother won’t let him. Instead of a sword, she gives him a sunflower, which, as it turns out, can be mightier than a sword.