Focus Plant – Cleavers and dandelions.
Once the children had gathered at the pine grove we took a long route to our base camp to find our focus plant Cleavers or Stickybacks. We collected enough to make tea and had a game of sticking them on each others clothes.
The children took turns to lead us to base camp. Each leader stopped and pointed out something. They were encouraged to start with “I wonder…”
At our base camp the children are now used to our routine of putting up the boundary ribbons and having free play. Free play usually means playing in the den and playing ‘Eagle Eye’
We had our break up on top of the hill in the sun today and from there went on a hike to new areas. Todays story.
(One of the mothers told me today that she now reads the Forest Friday stories to her son at bedtime. He loves it as it brings back memories of his Fridays up on Killiney Hill.)
Long, long ago, the flowers had a huge argument about which of them was the most beautiful, the most special, the most loved by the humans and by the fairies. The argument lasted for weeks, with each flower claiming to be the most beautiful and the most loved. Finally, all of the flowers agreed to let the Flower Fairies decide.
The Flower Fairies sent they’re gentlest and kindest of spirit fairy to settle the problem and to give one plant her blessing and the title of the “most perfect” flower. The little Fairy decided to test each flower by asking them one question.
The first flower the Fairy talked to was the Rose.
“Where would you most like to live?” she asked it.
“I would like to climb the castle wall.” said the Rose. “And then kings and queens and nobles would pass by everyday and exclaim over my beauty, my scent and my delicate nature.”
The Flower Fairy walked sadly away from the Rose.
Next the Fairy came to a tulip, standing tall and proud. “Where would you most like to live?” she asked the Tulip.
“Oh, I want to live in a public garden” said the Tulip. “Where everyday people would come and admire my wonderful colors and see how straight and tall I stand.” Once again, the Fairy walked a way feeling sad.
She walked until she came to a forest. There she found some Violets. She asked them “Where would you most like to live, little Violets?” “Oh” said the violets quietly “We like it here hidden in the woods where no one can see us and where the trees keep the sun from dulling our beautiful color.” The fairy thanked the Violets and walked on looking for more flowers to talk to.
She talked to the Tiger Lily who was much too wild and fierce.
She talked to the Sunflower who barely answered her because all she wanted to do was be warmed by the sun.
The little Flower Fairy talked to the Orchids who only wanted to be taken out to dances and she tried to talk to the Narcissus but it was too busy looking at it’s reflection in the water to speak to her.
The little Fairy, with tears in her eyes, was ready to give up and go home when she came to a field with bright fluffy yellow flowers on long thin stalks. The leaves were long and jagged and very close to the ground. But the flowers….oh how happy and cheerful they looked in the field!
“Little one” said the Flower Fairy “What are you called and where would you like to live?”
“I am a dandelion” said the little flower.”I’d like to live where ever there are children. I want to live beside the road, and in the meadows, and push up between the sidewalks in the cities, and make everyone feel happier when they see my bright colors.” The Dandelion chattered on happily saying “I want to be the first flower that the children pick in the spring and take to their mothers. And I could tell if a child likes butter by being rubbed under their chins, and if a child makes a wish and blows my seeds, I could carry that wish on the wind.”
The Flower Fairy smiled brightly and said “Little Dandelion, you are the most perfect and special flower of all and you shall have your wish! You will blossom everywhere from spring till fall, and be known as the children’s flower.”
And this is why the dandelion comes so early and pushes her head up everywhere with such strength and determination. And why she is so loved by children throughout her long life.
Exploration – “Show how to thread daisies together. What other plants can you join in a similar way to daisies?
Explore Sticky backs. How could you use these for a costume? (Stick to clothes not skin as some people may have a reaction to them.)
Explore Elderflower wood. Look at the centre of the wood it has a soft pith. Hollow it out with a stick. Join a smaller stick by sticking it into the hole.
Explore ivy, try to weave a circle with it.
Use a length of wire with a loop at the end. Try threading plants and leaves on to wire. Thread through once. Try threading in and out like doing a stitch.
Using these skills and other skills you make up, create a wonderful forest costume for yourself.
You could make headdresses, arm and leg bands, belts, skirts and lots more ideas.”
Threading leaves and plants on to wire.
The children stopped on the way up to base camp and asking “I wonder…” about lots of very interesting details.
Some made some forest costumes on the way up.
The Dandelion – the children’s flower.
Making forest costumes
Can you find children in the forest?