~Libélulas~ Maple Seed Dragonflies

I have been hunting for these maple seeds, that I remember so well from my own childhood, for weeks now! I completely forgot when they would come about and I was thrilled when my husband spotted some on our most recent nature walk. Now is the time, my friends! Collect and gather for this amazing and fun activity.

My children loved helping me find them and were even more excited when I told them we would be making a project with them.

The setup is simple, here is what you will need:

  • Three complete maple wings per libélula (you have one extra in case one breaks!)
  • Paint (I used tempera)
  • Q-tips for painting
  • A yogurt lid or paint tray to hold the paint
  • Small sticks cut into 3-4″ pieces- one for each libélula
  • Twine (long enough to wrap around each stick–this part feels optional but I feel like it completes it)

To get my kids started with this, I had each of them choose three “semillas de arce” -maple seeds- and did a little demonstration for them where I took a q-tip and very carefully dipped it in a little paint and made tiny polkadots on some, stripes on others and asked them as I was painting what colors they wanted me to do next. By modeling the focused and detailed work, I saw the same amount of concentration and care in my own children when it was their turn to paint!

I then gave them each a q-tip for each color and they painted away! It is a quick activity- they only spent maybe 5 minutes painting- but it was truly an amazing thing to watch two-year-olds work so carefully.

When they were done, we set them to dry and went outside to eat some mango paletas (popsicles) that I made by legitimately pouring a little mango juice and water into popsicle molds and my kids thought I was the best person ever.

Once dry, I showed my girls how I was wrapping the twine around each stick and asked them if they wanted to try. We love the Montessori methods of independence and encouraging our children to try something by modeling it and letting them experiment before we help them with it. They spent a few minutes working at it and I only helped them once they asked for it. We wrapped the little palos (sticks) in twine and then I hot-glued two semillas on each one, angling them to create the two alas (wings) on each side. Voila! They loved them instantly and they rest on our nature treasure shelf that we are slowly creating together.

Words to practice:

Libélula (lee-beh-loo-lah) dragonfly

Semilla (seh-mee-yay) seed

Arce (ahr-seh) maple

Ala (ah-lah) wing

Palo (pah-loh) stick

Pintar (peen-tahr) to paint

I hope you love making these with your family this week!

I’d love to see your creations so please tag me! @ninos.and.nature