The rose, a symbol of deep love, is ubiquitous around Valentine’s Day. From culinary treats to crafts, rose petals are lots of fun for the kiddos this holiday too.
While I am not exactly thrilled about receiving a dozen red roses from Cupid, I am pretty excited about the health benefits that this flower has to offer. For this reason (as well as their fragrance), we often celebrate Valentine’s Day with dried rose petals.
I’ve read that the lotus of our heart is the rose and that it symbolizes love and devotion. Apparently, rose petal color has significance too. Red roses most notably represent true love, while yellow roses symbolize friendship. Bright pink roses express gratitude and white or light pink roses are often used to convey sympathy.
Rose flowers may help reduce inflammation on surfaces of the body. For this reason, the petals are wonderful in a tea or macerated in honey for a sore throat. Rose petals are antioxidant-rich and may be beneficial for physical and emotional heart health as well. Rose hips, or the fruit of the rose, are abundant in vitamin C and can also be made into tea or jam.
When sourcing your rose petals, choose well! Roses from a florist are likely to be sprayed with pesticides. Dried varieties may be as well, so ask! I found several shops with dried rose petals where I live, however, had to ask around to find petals that were organic.
Once you have your petals, there are many fun ways to introduce rose benefits to children. Here are a few of our family favorites:
We whipped up a beautiful batch of rosy playdough using beet powder for color.
I mixed 1 cup of flour, several tablespoons of dried rose petals, a few tablespoons of beet powder, and 1/4 cup salt in a bowl.
On the stovetop, I added 3/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice to a pot over medium heat. I added a few drops of rose geranium oil (to help offset the aroma of the beet powder).
Once my water was quite hot (not yet boiling) I added the dry ingredients slowly, while stirring continuously. A ball of dough formed and I placed it on a sheet of parchment paper to cool. Once cool, I pressed in a few extra rose petals (for looks) and then my son spent hours playing with it!
This would make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift as well.
Candied Rose Petals:
Looking for a sweet alternative to chocolate and candy hearts? All you need are your rose petals, aquafaba (the liquid) from a can of chickpeas, and granulated sugar.
Place rose petals in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment or wax paper. Brush aquafaba on a few of the rose petals and quickly sprinkle with sugar. Continue the process with all remaining rose petals. Once the petals are dry, store them in a jar or other airtight container.
Rosy Heart Pancakes:
If you have rose petals and beet powder left over, save them for a special Valentine’s Day breakfast. Add a little of each to your pancake (or other quick bread) batter and shape into a heart yourself, or with a little assistance from a cookie cutter after cooking.
Rose Sensory Bath:
Bathtime can become a feast for the senses with fragrant floating rose petals. I placed a few handfuls to my son’s bath recently and while the oldest was indifferent, our eight-month-old had a blast trying to catch the petals as they drifted by.
Rose-Inspired Tea Party:
Steep rose petals in boiling water to make tea (perhaps add a touch of honey) and serve at a tea party complete with rose petal decor.
Rose Petal Art:
Offer rose petals along with your usual craft supplies and let your children decide how they wish to add them to their art. In my opinion, they would make a lovely addition to homemade Valentines.
Photo: Monika Gniot/Shutterstock