We homeschool all year long, but in the summer we’re a lot more focused on outdoor, hands-on learning in the sunshine. And we’re ready to learn about the plants and herbs around our off grid home in Canada’s subarctic – Canada’s Northwest Territories.
In addition to traditional academic subjects, we include learning about vegetable gardening, permaculture, growing herbs, foraging, and wilderness first aid skills as part of our summer homeschool routine. Whenever we can, we gather wild vegetables, berries, and flowers. And then we wildcraft!
Wildcrafting is the art of using what you forage in the wild and crafting it into foods, cosmetics, or other useful items for your home. I’m always looking for creative ways to use what we gather to add to my wildcrafting with kids folder!
Recently, my two youngest children helped gather an enormous quantity of rose petals from the wild roses that grow all over this part of Canada.
Here are five ways the children and I wildcraft with our wildflowers, including roses. One of our favourite projects is our simple Wild Rose Bath Salts Recipe. It’s easy to make and it’s a great gift. You’ll find a link to it down at the bottom of this post.
#1. Make Jams, Jellies, and Preserves
Just a few steps outside our cabin we can gather wild raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries. We eat these berries raw on our cereal, bake them into pies, and make huge batches of freezer jam. Freezer jam is simple to make and a good way to start canning with kids.
#2. Pressed Wildflower Bookmarks
Use either a laminator or wax paper and an iron to press pretty local wildflowers into beautiful and unique pressed wildflower bookmarks. We’ve tried both methods and find the laminated bookmarks to be sturdier.
Dry flower petals and fragrant herbs on trays, drying screens or with a dehydrator. Mix them up into sweet-smelling mixtures and use them to naturally freshen the air around your home. Some common potpourri wildflowers and herbs across North America include:
- wild mint
- wild rose
- lemon balm
#4. Nature Art and Crafts to Display
If you’re homeschooling older children (ages 10+), encourage them to forage for natural plants, flowers, herbs, and greenery they can use for nature art. They could make botanical prints, flower crowns or even create their own flower-based paper.
#5. Wild Rose Bath Salts
This is one of our new favorite wildcrafting projects because it’s so simple! Just gather and dry some sweet-smelling wildflowers or herbs. We used wild roses, but go ahead and try lavender or peppermint.
Toss the flowers with Epsom Salts or Dead Sea Salts, a few drops of essential oils, and mix well. Add two or three tablespoons to your bathwater.
Tip: Bathing with bath salts they’ve made can encourage even the most reluctant smelly little kid to get in that tub. Ask me how I know.
Want the step-by-step instructions on how to make these easy Wild Rose Bath Salts? Head over to An Off Grid Life and grab your free download now!
Sarita Harbour is a busy mom/step-mom, and grandmother blessed with seven kids ranging from age 32 down to seven. She lives off the grid with her family in a lakefront chalet in the beautiful wilderness of Canada’s far north. She spends her days teaching, writing, and learning the ropes of homesteading off the grid. Visit her site, Off Grid Life, for free printables and resources on homesteading, homeschooling, and self-reliance for the whole family.