Happily residing in recycled yogurt-cup vases, these beautiful tissue-paper flowers get tiny fingers moving and creative juices flowing, and the end result is a work of art sure to brighten anyone’s day. Completed in several easy steps, this activity has a component to match every child’s skill level. Gather your materials and get kiddos ready to become artists, gardeners and sculptors!
- recycled child-size yogurt cups
- craft or construction paper: green for flower leaves, any color for vase covers
- markers, stickers, and/or ink for stamping
- colored tissue paper
- bendable drinking straws
- clear tape
- clear-drying craft glue
- playdough: This can be your old, mixed-up commercial playdough or dough made from scratch at home. You need enough to fill the yogurt container halfway. A greenish-bluish color works best, because it resembles the water in a vase.
Begin by making the flower vase. To create a yogurt cup (vase) cover template, place a yogurt cup on its side on a piece of paper and mark the height with a pencil, then wrap the paper around the cup to cover it completely, with about ½ inch overlap. Cut out the template. Trace the template on construction paper and cut out the cover for the vase. Budding artists can decorate their cover with stickers, fingerprints, drawings or messages. Try out some designs on a blank piece of paper first—help children practice making fingerprints, or brainstorm some ideas together. Look around the room for inspiration: eye-catching shapes, pretty designs or patterns work well on a tiny vase.
After the masterpiece is finished, it’s time to cover the yogurt container. Children can put glue along the top edge of the container and affix the paper to the cup. Then glue the small part of overlapping construction paper along the side together and use a small piece of clear tape to secure the edges. Voila! The vase is finished.
Now make the flower. Draw a circle template about 5 inches in diameter and a square template about 5 x 5 inches on a piece of construction paper. Cut out the templates and use them to trace a circle and square on several pieces of tissue paper. Place 5 to 10 of the cut-out shapes in a pile and gather at the center. A mix of shapes and different-colored tissue paper will make a unique flower. Twist the center tightly to make the base of the flower, and use clear tape to secure it.
Don’t worry if the flower looks funny at first—you can fluff it up and move it around once it’s finished. Remember, there’s no wrong way to make a tissue-paper flower, and little gardeners are lucky because there’s no waiting for these flowers to grow. Encourage children to experiment with different color and shape combinations or to start again if they don’t like their final creation.
- Add the stem. Cut a tiny slit in the top of the drinking straw and stick the base of the flower into the straw. Put a piece of clear tape around the flower and straw to secure it in place.
- Add a leaf. Draw a leaf—about 6 inches long, 1 inch wide at the ends and 1½ inches wide at the center—on a piece of green construction paper and cut it out. Make a tiny hole in the center of the leaf and pull the straw through it, moving the leaf all the way up to the base of the flower. It will cover the tape and slit and will really bring this flower to life!
- Now put “water” into the vase. Have children grab enough playdough to fill half the vase. They can roll it in a ball, making it soft enough so they can push it all the way into the container. The playdough acts as a weight and “glue” to secure the flower to the vase.
- Add the flower. Decide how high the flower should stick out of the vase and cut the straw accordingly, about 2 to 3 inches from the bottom. Stick the flower into the water, and the easy and fabulous, last-forever flower is finished!
Too pretty not to share, this simple craft works children’s imaginations as well as their all-too-important fine motor skills. It’s great for them to learn to follow several steps in order to complete a project, too; they begin to learn how different parts work together to become a whole. They also learn how their hard work and effort can pay off when they stand back and see how gorgeous their flower and vase are together.