My girls and I have been busy welcoming spring since our Imbolc Garden of Lights party in mid-February, but recently we had a particularly magical day with daffodils. We combined poetry reading with daffodil crafts for a holistic Spring day we all adored.
Daffodowndilly by A.A. Milne, is the perfect poem to help a preschool-aged child fall in love with spring. It’s sunny, playful, and just the tiniest bit startling. And, it’s just long enough that Jasmine (4.5 years) felt a real sense of accomplishment after reciting the whole thing for our family.
The Craft: Make Daffodils From Recycled Egg Cartons
1. Cut the cups out from an egg carton. Lay them in a bowl. Cut yellow daffodil petals from yellow construction paper and place in a second bowl. Place green pipe cleaners in a third bowl. (The children really seem to enjoy seeing the elements of their artwork laid out as individual units prior to creation.)
2. Invite your child to paint the inside and outside (but not the bottom) of all the egg cups yellow. My girls like to use yellow tempera paint mixed with a yellow glitter paint.
3. Glue the cups on top of yellow daffodil petals.
4. As these dry, cut 10 pieces of wire “stems.” Hide the wire by weaving green pipe cleaners around it. (The wire will make the flowers strong enough to stand upright in a vase. If you just want them pasted to the wall or a picture, you can use pipe cleaners on their own.)
5. Once all the glue has dried, tape the stems to the back of the flowers. If you want to place them in a vase, tape the stem first and then glue a piece of yellow paper over the tape to hide it.
The Poetry: Recite as you work
The most amazing thing about children is their ability to absorb language and words, and most important, endure repetition with pleasure. As I worked with Jasmine and Chloe, I recited our poem over 10 times. Each time I savored the words, dancing my daffodil as the poem dictated, watching their faces to look for signs of annoyance at my persistence. They loved it. Jasmine was inspired to stay focused on completing her flowers and then as they dried, she used my daffodil to act out the poem.
Daffodowndilly by A.A. Milne
She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
By the time evening came, we stood before our family audience and proudly recited our poem encore after encore, dancing daffodils to our words. As the week has progressed, we’ve found ample opportunity to bring our poem into the conversation, edit it slightly, playfully, to fit our circumstance.