Getting crafty with a toddler: flower press fun

Pressed Flower
Photo by Flickr user SurFeRGiRL30, used with Creative Commons license.

I'm trying to come up with creative things my son and I can do together at home. I feel like I've been a little too focused on go-go-going all the time (mostly because he developed a habit of asking "Go in yellow car now?" each morning) and not really making sure that he's cool with just… kicking it at the homestead.

I wanted something we could do no matter what the weather was like, and then it hit me — a flower press! At first I wasn't sure a flower press would intrigue Jasper, since as far as I can tell… you just put flowers in it, press them, and then you have a lot of dried flowers to do something with. THEN I realized we could string the dried flowers on thread (or whatever you want to use) and use them to decorate our windows. We can't have curtains because my husband Sean is allergic to dust, but I still have a hankering to prettify our window space. TA-DA: insta-pretty. That is, if you think dried flowers are pretty in the first place.

I went to a local toy store and found a flower press that was perfect (you can get a similar item on Amazon) — it was blank, so we could paint it ourselves. Jasper loves painting, so engaging him from the very beginning of the project was a bonus.

Observe:

We're lucky because we have a pretty sweet back yard — it's kind of like a mini-jungle, minus wild animals. Except for the squirrels that like to run on top of the roof at night, totally freaking me out. ANYWAY. We're growing flowers, and mistakenly paired sunflowers and morning glories (it turns out morning glories steal all the nutrients. Go us!), so we have those half-living, half-dying together in the yard. We picked some flowers from the stalks and began.

Jasper's favorite part is taking the pressed flowers out — he likes to say "SMASHED FLOWERS!" really loudly and triumphantly sometimes. Other times he says "Aww, flowers," in a sweet voice, so I think it all balances out.

I'm pretty bad at identifying flowers, but these grow around our mailbox:

Every so often Sean finds these teeny paper cranes made from Sunburst wrappers lying on a table in the building in which he works. I love them, so he brings them home for me. They usually just sit around on my computer desk until one of us recycles them, but I was very quickly inspired to string them up with the flowers that we used on our first round:

Right now we're in the middle of pressing a bunch of roses that Sean bought me a few weeks ago. It seems to be going well! Jasper also really likes helping put the flower press together — one of his favorite parts is dropping the little screws on so I can tighten it up.

In short: flower presses are awesome, and your little kid might think so, too.

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  1. another fun thing to do… after flowers are pressed, put in between two pieces of wax paper (wax side facing the inside), put a dishcloth over the top and iron… then cut around the flower (leaving a little bit on the sides to keep it together)… these are great for decorations, bookmarks, embellishing gifts, etc, etc

    • or, after wax papering them, make a frame of construction paper and hang in the window. Instant stained glass effect. Bonus: have the little guy color the construction paper.

  2. I never thought of involving the kiddos doing this!
    And also, as a side note, you can make your very own flower press with 2 pieces of flat wood (old cabinet doors or plywood) some screws and wing bolts–or are they nuts I can never remember–and tissue paper and paper towels.)
    I've never thought of putting them in my window though what a great idea 🙂
    I bet it would be awesome with leaves in the fall too!

  3. Neat, I didn't even know there was such a thing as flower presses! My mom and I always used to put flowers in books and stack things on top of them to press and dry flowers though, and I loved it. My dad built a wooden box and covered the inside of the lid with dried flowers (with varnish I would guess) and it looks so neat!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm going to try this with my 2 year-old today.
    She LOVES picking flowers, so this'll be perfect for our daily craft project. 🙂

  5. Pressing flowers is a great activity to do with kids. You can use heavy books and parchment paper if you don't have a flower press.

    Last year I wanted to put together some pressed flower arrangements in picture frames. I went outside with my son and we started cutting flowers, next thing I knew, 3 other neighbourhood kids had joined in an within an hour I had a snippet of every flower and plant within a 200 foot radius of my house! 🙂

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