Now, for the fun part, let's make our own flower!
Make a Model Flower:
The first step is to paint the petals. Use one large, or several small, pieces of paper to make the petals. I find watercolor or diluted food dye works well for this.
Give this several hours to dry, and move on the the next step.
Now that your model is complete, your child can tell you all about the parts of the flower they've learned about. This model makes a great table centerpiece, or displayed on the wall.
While we're waiting on that paint to dry, let's start making the stamen. In our example, I've used pipe cleaners, bent into a "V" and attached cotton pom-pom to each end, but you could use a number of different items. A zip-tie and a cotton ball, a q-tip with one end cut off, pretty much anything will work, as long as it's slim with a head on one end. You'll be puting a light coat of glue (we used some adhesive spray) to coat the anther then dip it in your "pollen" (we used glitter, but once again, there are a lot of great substitutes around the house). and once again, allow to dry.
Let's learn about flowers!
Part One: Plant Dissection
Before we build our own model flower, we need to learn about the parts of a flower, and what better way to do that than by dissecting a real flower of our own.
First, you'll need to find a few flowers (preferably a few different species) and you'll want to make sure they're "perfect flowers" (meaning they have both male and female parts) or you will have to do the dissection twice.
Once you have the flowers selected, have your child help you remove each part, and identify it on the diagram. Explain the purpose of each part to your child as you go.
Once all the other parts are removed, have your child carefully use a sharp knife (or if your child is too young to handle a knife, please do this part for them) to cut the pistil in half, lengthwise and examine inside the ovary. You should see tiny ovules (these will become seeds when fertilized by pollen).
Next, glue the ovary to the base using school glue (or hot glue, if you're pressed for time, though it's not as kid friendly, so a parent will probably have to do that part) then apply glue to the stigma and insert it into the mouth of the bottle top to attach it to the base. If you've used school glue, you'll have to wait a while for the glue to dry. Then move on to attaching the stamen. I used another pipe cleaner to secure the stamen to the pistil in order to hold them in place while they dried.
By now, your painted paper should be good and dry. Draw out a petal shape on a piece of scrap paper, then use that as a pattern to cut out your petals from the sheet (or sheets) you've painted. You'll want about 5 or 6 petals for your flower. Here is a picture of my child cutting out one of the petals:
Nearly done! for this next part you need a quick drying glue. Hot glue works well, and that's what we used, but anything that dries quickly will work. The petals can be a little hard to work with, so this job is probably best left to adults or older children. Attach the petals evenly spaced around the outside edge of the base and... you're done!
After painting the base with the leftover green paint, it's time to begin assembly. Put some glue in the center and place some seeds (we've used split peas to be ours, but as usual, feel free to substitute any dried bean or even some colorful beads).
Next, use a compass or trace a circle with a plate or a jar lid onto a piece of cardboard. If your child is good with scissors, you can have them cut out the base, if not, an adult can use an x-acto knife or a box cutter.
To construct the pistil, you'll need something to use for the ovary, the style and the stigma. I've cut the top off a plastic bottle and helped my child paint it with green acrylic paint. You could also start with a bottle that was already green. This part forms the ovary. Next, you need to construct the style and the stigma. I've formed a pipe cleaner to be the right shape, but once again, be creative!