Blooming Marvellous

By Rebekah Pothaar 2020-06-28 12:50:59

Fun DIY flower arrangement activities you can do with the kids

Think of flower arranging like you would painting, it is meditative, flow-inducing, and presents children with a great opportunity to connect with their senses, get creative, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

Let’s start with the basics. Your kids should be older than two and, depending on their age, you can adjust the challenge level or tasks of the activity.

Pre-Preparation: Getting Your Supplies Ready
Before purchasing flowers, have an idea what you will put them in – vases, recycled tins or pickle jars. This will give you an idea of what to buy (amount, length, and weight). You can also ask your kids to get creative with vases. A brief browsing of Pinterest taught me to lob the top off a watermelon or pineapple, hollow it out, and stick a recycled plastic bottle inside it to make a beautiful eco-vase.


How creative you decide to be depends on your threshold for mess and commitment to this process. A glass vase may just do the trick, but keep in mind the vases may topple at certain points in the learn- ing process.

You may also need scissors (or a sharp knife, out of reach of children), string, twist ties, possibly duct tape, a jug of water, and half a cup of granulated sugar.

Fun tip: if you have food colouring on hand in the kitchen, the ‘carnations and food colouring trick’ always got me as a child. Add food colouring to the water of white carnations (or roses) and soon after the flowers transform in colour.

Wildflowers may be tricky to find, but luckily Shanghai has a wealth of options for purchasing. You can do a field trip to one of the massive flower markets, your local florist, or even a flower cart that sit on various street corners. The key point here is to pick a selection that makes your heart sing, that or just let your kids pick them based on their own preferences. A lazy option is online flower delivery, but it arguably takes some of the fun out of the selection process.

Keep in mind some flowers last longer than others – carnations, lilies, and sunflowers tend to last
longer than roses or tulips.

Download the free plant identification and education app called ‘PlantNet’. This app allows you to upload an image of any plant or flower and it will provide the flower or plant name, history, and interesting anecdotes to impress your kids. The ‘Blossom – Plant and Flower Identification’ app is also great, but it’s not free.

Your Floral ‘Workshop’
Nothing makes anyone feel more like a pro than the word ‘workshop’. You are now ready to start your ‘workshop’. Maybe put on some relaxing music, have a plate of fresh-cut fruit (from the hollowed-out pineapple and watermelon you made into vases). Perhaps have them watch while you create an arrangement first to demonstrate before getting the children started on making their own.

Allow them to select their flowers. Teach them to strip any foliage that will make contact with the water. Help to cut stem heights if they need assistance. Cut the flower stems on an angle to maximize the surface area of the cut. A sharp knife is actually better than using scissors as scissors can pinch the stem and therefore reduce water flow to the stem. Obviously, keep the knife out of reach of the kids.

Encourage the kids to arrange the flowers however they like. Have them notice the different colours, smells, and textures of the flowers. Ask them about the colours they like the most and which colours they like to see together. Teach them the names of the flowers. Try to encourage their curiosity about how plants grow.

Allow the kids to place their creations where they will be able to enjoy them fully. Ask them what they enjoyed or learned most about the experience.

Remember to change the water every two days, and if the flowers don’t come with a flower food packet, add a spoonful of regular granulated sugar to the water to make them last longer.

Follow Up and Extensions
Take a photo of their arrangement and ask if they would like to draw or paint it as an additional activity. Who knows, you may have the next Van Gogh starting on floral still lifes in your kitchen.

Suggest other ‘workshop’ activities – creating fruit platters, buying seeds, and growing seedlings or creating an indoor (or outdoor) herb garden. Ask the kids what workshop they would like to do next and make a list of ideas to make it a regular thing.

Flower Market Addresses
Caojiadu Flower Market
1148 Changshou Road, near Wanhangdu Road, Jing’an District
Hongqiao Flower Market
718 Hongjing Road, near Hongsong Road, Minhang District
Lanling Flower Market
1539 Lingshi Road, Putuo District