Wild and Weedy Prints

Go au natural! Making delicate designs with unsung weeds will fortify your preschooler’s environmental awareness & hand-eye coordination too!

WATCH OUT!

Please be aware of allergies to weeds or grasses and take preventative measures as you see fit. Keep an eye out for bugs and critters too. Printing will be messy fun. Expect seeds and petals to be shed and prepare your child, yourself and your work space, too. Check out our FAQ's for cover-up recommendations.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. A variety of large, green and flowering plants and grasses such as river oats, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod, milkweed, muhly grass, foxtail, dandelions, alfalfa ... Avoid dry plants, they won’t work as well.
  2. White paper - construction paper or white printer paper like this example on Amazon work equally well
  3. Liquid tempera paint, from a jar or a tube like this - Go for bright, visible colors such as red, yellow and orange.
  4. Shallow container(s) big enough to to hold your paint and drag the weeds in. One pan per color. We find disposable, 9-inch aluminum pie pans like the kind found here or 9-inch paper dinner plates like these provide enough room to cover our "brushes."
  5. Large, about 2 inch wide brush, like this one for each paint color
  6. Optional - Gathering supplies for adults. A large, reusable bag, garden gloves, and clippers like these found on Amazon can come in handy.
HOW TO
  1. Skilly-spark #1: Let’s go on a walk and see what kind of blooming, wild plants, like flowers and grass, we can collect. Chat about the plants you see on your walk.  Talk about the difference between wild ones-- also known as weeds or native plants-- and the flowers you see in gardens, parks or neighbor's yards. Where are they are growing? How do they look?  If the weather is nice you can do your walk and the activity outside, too.
  2. After your walk, give your child a piece of paper and spread your printing materials out so that you can see and choose from them easily.
  3. Spread each paint color in a thin layer its container with a wide brush.
  4. Choose a weed and dip the flowering part into the paint. Have your paint on hand so that you can add more as needed.
  5. Now, press the bloom onto the paper.
  6. Skilly Spark #2:  As you print, chat about the difference in how the flower or grass looks and the marks it makes on their paper. What kind of shapes do you see? What happens when the shapes combine?
  7. Continue dipping and doing until a design or pattern emerges and your child’s attention wanes.

 

Keep the fun going
  • Wilder please! Feel free to print with other natural objects that you collected on your walk, such as small stones and twigs, adding even more natural details to the weedy design.
  • Make a lovely arrangement of "weeds" for your table.
  • Go big. Take a big, long piece of paper, such as easel paper like this or use masking tape found here to connect several pieces of letter-sized paper together et voila-- it's a weed mural!
  • Let's be botanists! Are the plants you found “native” or indigenous to your home? What that plant’s story? You can identify your child's chosen plants online or with plant-finding apps like the USDA’s Conservation Service Plants Database, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower database or cell phone apps like SmartPlant.
 
+Inspiration/thanks goes to the native plants that grow in the marshes along North Carolina's Cape Fear River.