By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
When my children were young, we used to walk to preschool.
As we walked, we would review the letter of the week, colors and simple math.
On the way home, we would discuss what they learned in school and stop for snack at our local pizza parlor.
But when spring came, our routine changed. We still continued to review what was learned in school but we also started observing nature.
As luck would have it, my daughter was a flower collector. She could never pass up a patch of flowers and in doing so I was always caring home fists full of poesies. While the dandelions, clover, wild carrot and violets were beautiful, I always was looking for a different way of holding my daughter’s collection.
Then one day it came to me. Why not create wearable flower art that she could take with her to class. So on a spring morning, we got dressed and headed out to walk the two miles to school. As we approached the flowers, I saw the twinkle in my daughter’s eye and in doing so pulled out a roll of masking tape.
No, I was not going to tape my children up but instead made little tape bracelets with the sticky side out. From here, my daughter could pick her flowers and place them on her bracelet. Oh how fashionable she felt and proceed to dance down the street. My son, on the other hand, was really not interested in wearing flower art. He instead decided to make one for his teacher.
So we pulled a length of tape and he decorated it. Once we got to school, we surprised his teacher with a one of a kind bracelet. After that day, my daughter expected an unlimited amount of flowers to be available along our walks and my son expected to make a bracelet every day for his new girlfriends.
A few years later, I was at a state park and noticed kids wearing these natural bracelets but they were a little different. Instead of being covered with fresh flowers, they were covered with seeds. These were planting bracelets made from the three-sisters.
To make these, each child was allowed to arrange corn, bean, and squash seeds in any pattern they would like on their bracelets. Some kids were meticulous about their seed arrangement while others just rolled their wrists in the bowls of seeds. While these bracelets were for Earth Day, I began to think about other occasions that these bracelets could be made for. Ideas began to flow.
I started thinking about kids designing planting bracelets for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day and even Valentine’s Day. I also started thinking about seeds that would go for these occasions. Flowers for Mother’s Day, herbs for Father’s Day, heirloom seeds for Grandparents’ Day, and red flowers for Valentine’s Day were ideas I came up with.
Today, the flower and planting bracelets are still a part of my kids’ lives. In the spring and summer, my daughter still makes flower accessories for her special outfits. My son still creates flower jewelry for the love one in his life at that time and both my children still make me flower and seed bracelets for Mother’s Day. As a matter of fact, I still have the first flower and seed bracelets they ever gave me, pressed and in a scrapbook.
Maybe one day, I will get the seeds out and plant them but think I will wait until I am a grandparent and can tell my grandchildren the story of walking to school and flower bracelets.
If you are looking for a way of getting kids interested in gardening, let their curiosity lead the way. Flower bracelets and planting jewelry are an inexpensive way that kids can share their love of nature. But if you are one of the luck recipients of these gifts, take time to plant and enjoy the gift together. As the old teaching saying goes, “To teach is to learn twice” but in this case “To plant allows one to learn twice.”
So until we blog again, may your Mother’s Day be filled with laughter from children designing your one of kind gift. The gift that every woman wants and that is the one that keeps on giving.