The girls are really busy this week learning about Dandelion. We finished the last book in the Herb Fairies series. I set aside one day a week to learn about herbal medicine with them. The morning starts by looking at the live plant in detail and visiting it in the garden to learn about its habitat and how it grows. I prepare a plant dissection for them or lay out the life cycle of the plant on paper for them to illustrate and study.
Next we draw the whole plant from root to top in our nature journals or find a coloring page of it . The act of drawing or coloring really helps the girls to remember details such as the number of petals, flower type/color, leaf shape, etc. They really have to use their observation skills and spend some time with the plant.
Using an herbal/ Materia Medica , I have them read about the plant to learn about its various features, where it grows and how it is used. They take detailed notes in their notebooks. We do a family read of several stories about the herb we are studying.
To make it even more memorable we sometimes do a science experiment, craft project, play a game, or find a way to cook with the plant as a main ingredient.
Some days they help me in the garden with planting, weeding, or harvesting. Now that they are older the girls often assist me in the indoor pharmacy with measuring out the oil, alcohol, etc. for my salves and tinctures.
I do a lot of role modeling and allow them to learn by watching and osmosis. I want them view herbal medicine as a normal daily activity that supports the health of our family. I hope that they will have their own backyard pharmacies when they are adults or at least think to try a plant remedy first before considering other options. Nothing makes my heart want to burst with pride and happiness more than when one of them points out a plant in the wild AND can tell me several of its uses as medicine.
We do a lot of art and craft projects that use plants as a materials or themes.
My girls like to make a lot of “beauty products” and self care items from the herbs in our garden. They have made lotion bars, bath salts, and vapor discs for the shower just to name a few.
There a lots of really simple and easy recipes that are child friendly.
There are not as many resources as I would like for kids but what I have been able to find is pretty good and suits our needs.
Misc. Picture books
I Am A Medicine Woman Too by Jesse Wolf Hardin
The Wise Woman and Her Secret by Eve Merriam
My Grandfather Is a Magician by Ifeoma Onyefulu
My Tata’s Remedies by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
Clara and The Curandera by Monica Brown
The Shaman’s Apprentice by Lynne Cherry
Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure by Naomi C. Rose
The Herbalist of Yarrow A Fairy Tale of Plant Wisdom by Shatoyla De La Tour
Welcome Weeds!: A Children’s Guide to The Wild Garden by Kimberly Eve
Keepers of Life: Discovering Plants Through Native American Stories and Earth Activities for Children by Michael J. Caduto
The Games of Silence (and other books in the Birchbark House Series) by Louise Erdrich
Matilda Bone By Karen Cushman
Happy Birthday Josefina by Valerie Tripp/ American Girls
Warriors series-Erin Hunter (it is cats but my daughter has learned about several herbs)
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
Falling In by Francis O’ ‘Roark Dowell. A very well done book that features an herb at the beginning of each chapter.
Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun.
I have come across several books with herbalists as main characters for young adults/teens but I honestly can’t recommend them for various reasons.
Herbaceous or Herbaceous Sprouts (you probably don’t need both)
Wildcraft An Herbal Adventure Game (by the same people who did the Herb Fairies Series
Wild and Free Plant Identification Card Game (can order on Amazon)
Shanleya’s Quest Patterns in Plants Card Game, Decks 1 and 2
You might also find some printable resources on Etsy if you do a search
Herbs Coloring Book by Stephen Bernath/Dover Publishing
Medicinal Plant Coloring Book An Herb Guide by Lilt Kids Coloring Books/James Stewart
Medicinal Plants Coloring Books by Ilil Arbel/Dover Publishing
The Botany Coloring Book by Paul Young
Books for Identifying of Plants
Flower Fairies series of books (6) by Cicely Mary Barker
Berries, Nuts, and Seeds by Diane L. Burns/Take Along Guide
Trees, Leaves, Bark by Diane L. Burns/Take Along Guide
Wildflowers, Blossoms, and Blooms by Diane L. Burns/Take Along Guide
An Introduction To Trees by John Kieran
An Introduction To Wildflowers by John Kieran
A Golden Guide Trees
A Golden Guide Weeds
A Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America by Frank D Venning
Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife
Field guides for your local region/ecosystem (Partners Publishing or Peterson)
Shanleya’s Quest A Botany Adventure for Kids by Thomas J. Elpel
Shanleya’s Quest 2 Botany Adventure at the Fallen Tree by Thomas J. Elpel Illustrated by Bonnie Andrich
Botany In A Day The Patterns Method of Plant Identification by Thomas J. Elpel
A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
The Reason For A Flower by Ruth Keller
Eyewitness Tree by David Burnie
Eyewitness Books Plant by David Burnie
The Visual Dictionary of Plants (Eyewitness/DK)
Botany Adventure Curriculum by Kym Wright (worksheets)
Botany In Eight Lessons Curriculum by Ellen Jonston Mc Henry (textbook and worksheets)
The First Book of Plants by Alice Dickinson
Look At a Flower by Anne Ophelia T. Dowden
Books for Learning About Medicinal Plants and How To Use Them
Herb Fairies series of books (13) by Kimberly Gallagher
Walking The World in Wonder A Children’s Herbal by Ellen Evert Hopman
A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra
Herbal Adventures: Backyard Excursions and Kitchen Creations for Kids and Their Families by Rachel Jepson
The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey or The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars (any well organized, easy to use, attractive reference book will do)
The Herbal Medicine -Makers’s Handbook by James Green
The Big Book of Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Mathew Seal
Science Experiments, Activities, Crafts
Looking At Plants by David Suzuki
Learn and Play In The Garden by Meg Herd
Biology Experiments for Children by Ethel Hanauer
Reader’s Digest How Nature Works by David Burnie
Janice VanCleave’s Plants, Mind Boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects by Janice VanCleave.
Check out you local library, the will have lots of books that have experiments and activities involving plants
Drawing, Illustrating, and Painting Plants
Botanical Sketchbook, A Guide and Inspiration for any Botanical Artist (or any other book on Botanical Illustration)
Brush Drawing by May Mallam
The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws
Drawing From Nature by Jim Arnosky
Janet Marsh’s Nature Diary by Janet Marsh
Painting Nature In Watercolor With Cathy Johnson by Cathy Johnson
New Eyes for Plants A Workbook for Observing and Drawing Plants by Margaret Colquhoun and Axel Ewald
Keeping A Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth
How To Keep A Naturalist’s Notebook by Susan Leigh Tomlinson
Herbal Roots zine
Wild Craft Kids Club
What resources have you come across for kids. I would love to add those to my list.
Ideas For Young Kids–(click link)
Learning About Herbs through Crafts for All Kids-(click link)
This post is updated often so please check back for more resources.