The season of spring brings with it a sense of awakening and the joy of new life. In India, the spring festivities have either a religious or agricultural significance. The popular celebrations during the spring season or ‘Vasant Rutu’ are Holi, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Vishu, Baisakhi, Bihu, Chaithra Navaratri, Rama Navami and Easter – to name a few. And what marks the arrival of spring better than blossoms – from the tiny snowdrops to the magnificent magnolias.
To start our experiment, we need to gather a few supplies. These include:
- Origami paper/photocopy paper
- (If one doesn’t have origami paper squares, squares can be drawn upon regular photocopy paper, coloured or white, and simply cut out. Our squared paper sheets measured 15×15 cms and 12×12 cms)
- Ruler and pencil
- Stickers / Coloured pencils (to be more creative with the flowers)
- A plate/bowl of water.
- Fold your square sheet in half.
- Then fold this into half one more time. Open out the second fold to reveal the centre line or crease.
- Fold the paper off center at an angle on one side.
- Repeat the same on the other side. Now draw the shape of a petal and use the scissors to cut it out.
- Open the paper to reveal the flower you have just created. At this stage, one could add a sticker in the center or use coloured pencils and draw details on the petals.
- Lay the flower on the water surface. Wait and watch the magic happen! Depending on the type of paper used, it could open up quicker or slower. The flowers once opened can be dried on a paper towel and reused when completely dry.
And why does the flower bloom?
Paper is made up of fibers of cellulose from wood pulp. When we fold the petals, the fibers on the inside of the folds get squeezed. Once the paper absorbs water, the squeezed fibers swell up pushing open the folds. Whether one finds science appealing or magic, try the blooming flower experiment and make spring come alive at home. My 7-year-old son found this quite an interesting concept and enjoyed working with me.
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