Sunday, September 14, 2014

10 Ideas for Fall Flower Hunts

Fall is a fun time to go on flower hunts. While we typically think of mums, there are many others flowers to explore. A flower hunt can be a simple activity exploring the blooms of the season or become a more complex flower study. Here are a few ideas to get going:

  1.   Paint swatch color walk: We lfind seasonal colors of paint swatches at a paint store. We bring them in nature to help us explore the colors of the season. My younger boys may look for brown, orange, and yellow, while my older boys find tanglewood, pumpkin patch, and egg yolk.
  2. Visit a nearby botanical garden. We recently embraced the different etiquette that is required at botanical and really enjoy our visits. We have a calendar garden that is close, with dates around the circle. This is quite the visual of our changing seasons. What flowers are in bloom?
  3. Make a scavenger hunt of native flowers in your area that shine in the fall. In our area, asters, goldenrod, ironweed, jewelweed, obedient plant, and boneset are good options. Bring a field guide to help identify some of the plants with flowers on the walk. I love how the jewelweeds “pop” when we touch them. Watch for a printable fall flower scavenger hunt on the blog in mid-September!
  4.   Revisit flowers that you looked at in the spring or summer. What do they look like in the fall? We love checking out milkweed and helping with seed dispersal! I don’t think that ever gets old! The picture on the right is of buttonbush. 
  6.  If you have a backyard or other area where you can collect flowers, take a walk and collect samples of various flowers you find in the area. Bring them home and categorize by color, shape, etc. Try dissecting a few of the flowers, too, or make a nature bouquet.  
  7. Bring one of Handbook of Nature Study’s journaling pages and a clipboard to record a few fall species while you are out on the trail.
  8.   Learn about a few wild edibles that may be in bloom or fruiting to find on your hike. Try a new recipe with the plant when you return home.
  9. Make an interactive art journey with the flowers you visit in the fall. Try using packing tape (sticky side out) as a bracelet to collect flower treasures as you walk or try natural weaving in a homemade loom while on your hike.  
  10. Visit your local garden shop! I find they have beautiful displays that are great for photo ops and have good seasonal items.
  11. Find a fall plant exchange through local garden clubs, libraries, environmental centers, and county park systems. This is a great way to hunt for flowers and add new ones to our yards!

The crisp air of fall is a great time to explore flowers.  What a great time to study parts of a plant, colors, textures, and the beauty of fall! 

This was originally published in the September 2014 Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter. Each month has great new challenges and nature study adventures. I look forward to the monthly inspiration!