This handprint sunflower craft is easy and so fun to make, and looks glorious!
This handprint sunflower craft is easy and so fun to make, and looks glorious!
If you’ve been growing sunflowers with us as part of the Compton Hospice Sunflower Challenge you need to measure your sunflowers today. There are fabulous prizes on offer for the tallest bloom, so measure up and contact Compton with your vital statistics.
Our tallest is currently 1m 65cm. They got up to 2m 47cm last year, so there’s plenty more growing to be done. How tall are yours?
If you’ve been enjoying growing sunflowers (whether you’re joining in the official challenge or not) and have a sunflower-themed play idea to share with us – we would love to see them. Please add a link to the Linky at the end of this post. We’ve shared some ideas for art, science and math in our Sunflower Activities ebook, and here’s one more idea for sunflower fun.
Are you growing sunflowers with your children? We’re joining in with Have a Lovely Time to support the Sunflower Challenge in aid of Compton Hospice and would like to invite you to join our Sunflower Festival
Join the Sunflower Festival
Thursday June 30th is the Official Measuring Day for those of you taking part in the Compton Hospice Sunflower Challenge. We will be hosting a Sunflower Festival here on NurtureStore on that day – will you join us?
Here’s how to take part:
1. Blog a sunflower-themed idea you’ve enjoyed with your children: a craft, a story book recommendation, a science idea, a game, a recipe, whatever! Our free Sunflower Activities ebook has some ideas to get you started.
2. Visit NurtureStore on June 30th and share a link to your post with us.
3. If you’re growing sunflowers in your garden don’t forget to measure them and let us know how tall they are.
And to give you some more sunflower inspiration, we’re joined by Zoe from Playing by the Book, who has a wonderful book suggestion to compliment your growing.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Sunflower”? What adjectives do associate with them?
Sunflowers to me are bold, bright and blousy and these sorts of characteristics are often what is focussed on in picture books about these beautiful flowers. Both of the previous books I reviewed here, Measuring Angels and To Be Like the Sun capture brilliantly their brassy, cheeful nature.
Secret in the Mist written by Margaret Nash, illustrated by Stephen Lambert is somewhat different. It’s quiet and meditative book, one that would suit a quiet story time, or a child who is a little more shy than others and for all these reasons it makes a lovely foil to my earlier sunflower picture book suggestions.
A young boy, Jonathon, plants a sunflower and watches it grow. But not only does he watch it at daytime, when it is “nudged by sunshine and laced with summer rain”, he sneaks peeks at it after dark “where it lived in silver shadows and was stroked by bright white moonlight”.
Jonathon delights in watching his sunflower grow, whispering words of encouragement to it and sharing peaceful moments enjoying it with his mother during the day and with his father after bed time. Eventually the sunflower stands proud, “bolder than the blackbird’s song and more golden than the sunshine”, but the most touching moment is in the closing pages of the book when Jonathon stands quietly admiring with his father; although he only planted one seed his sunflower looks so different by day and by night it is as if he has a secret moonflower as well as a sunflower.
This book is full of peacefulness and calmness. It highlights the loveliness of sharing secret, quiet time with each parent, as well as the feeling of awe that can come upon us if we allow ourselves time to stand and stare. The lyrical text is relatively short and structurally repetitive – something that makes it easy and enjoyable for younger listeners. The pastel illustrations are soft hued, warm and gentle.
It would be so much fun to read this book, tinged with mystery and full of love as it is, with your child outside, late one summer evening as twilight begins to fall.
Playing by the Book is a site full of inspiring ideas for bringing children’s books to life with arts, crafts and acitivities – go see – you’ll love it!
Growing sunflowers with your children? Hope to see you at the Sunflower Festival on June 30th!
Gardening with children offers so many opportunities to learn. We love growing our own fruit and vegetables, even though our garden is small, so the children get to see where their food comes from and how seeds transform into something tasty to eat.
This weekend we’ve been working on making a garden journal.
We’re using a scrapbook for our journal and filling it with all sorts of information and pictures as we go through our gardening year – making a wonderful record of everything we’ve done, seen and grown. Here are some things we’ll be including:
The journal is a collaborative project that everyone is taking part in and I’m making sure to keep it out, rather than stored away on a shelf, to encourage lots of entries whenever the kids see something they want to include. By mixing in writing, photos and pictures everyone can join in – whether they’re at the writing stage or not. We’re hoping by the end of summer – when if we’re lucky we’ll have enough produce for a harvest celebration – to have a beautiful record of all the fun we’ve had in the garden this year.
Are you growing anything with your children? Are you doing any linked activities to springboard the gardening into literacy, math, science or art? We’d love to hear your ideas.
Regular readers will know NurtureStore is teaming up with Have a Lovely Time to host a Sunflower Challenge, helping to raise funds for Compton Hospice. You can find out about the challenge here and download a free ebook full of sunflower activities including art, science and maths ideas. If you enjoy the ebook maybe you’d consider supporting the charity and making a donation?
And if you have any spare seeds or seedlings why not join in with some guerrilla gardening? Today is international guerrilla sunflower gardening day, so take your sunflowers out on the streets and get planting in your neighbourhood!
Scout your neighbourhood for a dull and dreary spot of wasteland and brighten it up with some of your sunflowers for all your community to enjoy. We have planted eight of our little sunflower plants on an old train embankment which we pass on the way to school each day, so we’ll be able to keep an eye on their progress.
And to complete our celebration of sunflower day, we have the pleasure of being joined once more by Zoe from Playing by the Book, with another recommendation for a wonderful sunflower themed story book to enjoy with your children. (You can find Zoe’s first story book pick here.) Oh, and Zoe reminded me to give you an update on our progress: our tallest sunflower is at 29cm so far – anyone beat that?
Measuring Angels by Lesley Ely and illustrated by Polly Dunbar is a book so rich in ideas and inspiration it’s hard to know where to start. It explores bullying and beauty in sensitive and thought provoking ways and is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations bursting with joy and colour. This is a book that will leave you happier, more optimistic about life, and itching to grow your own sunflowers (if you aren’t already doing so !)
A young girl at school is unhappy because she has fallen out with her friend. Hoping for reconciliation the class teacher gets the two girls to work together on the class sunflower growing competition; there are not enough seeds to go round the entire class and so the two girls reluctantly have to share.
At first things don’t bode well.
“When I put soil in the pot Sophie frowned. She snatches the seed and shoved it hard into the soil! I frowned but nobody noticed.”
At the suggestion of their teacher the girls try talking to their floundering seedling, and this along with the help of some fantastic sunflower guardian angels made from paper and glue by the class ensure the blossoming of not only their sunflower but also the rekindling of their friendship.
Seeing the sunflowers all in bloom the teacher realises that measuring for the tallest actually misses the point – beauty and friendship can’t and shouldn’t be measured.
This story is told with real a ring of authenticity; perhaps this is unsurprising given that the author is an experienced headteacher! The well crafted story is perfectly matched by beautifully observed children and mood-liftingly zingy illustrations created by the very talented Polly Dunbar. Even if our sunflowers don’t go on to win Nurture Store’s Sunflower Challenge , at least the competition has given me a chance to discover this wonderful book I can’t recommend enough.
happily shared with Link and Learn