I have seen this activity on a few websites. I wanted to post it here with a few changes/additions/suggestions.
The first time I saw this it was on a crafting site, and the petals were made from felt. Each color felt was a different size, and if your child put them on the pipe cleaner in rainbow order, you would see every color.
I love crafts, and liked this idea, but wanted to alter it a bit so I wouldn’t have to tell my kids what order to put the petals in (not that following directions isn’t also a valid skill.)
I used old pieces of kids art work, and pages from an oriental trading co. magazine to cut out petals of different shapes and sizes. I used basic shapes from Microsoft word to make the patterns for the petals. I made sure to choose shapes that no matter how they were “strung” onto the pipe cleaner, you would be able to see at least a little of each layer of petals.
I punched a hole in the center of each shape. For shapes that are large, fold them in half and then place the hole punch to that it is half on and half off of the paper. This will leave you with one hole in the center, instead of two.
Cut straws so once threaded onto the pipe cleaner, about 3 inches of the pipe cleaner sticks out. The pipe cleaner serves as a stop for the petals, and as a sturdy stem for the pipe cleaner.
Next, let your child thread as many petals as they want onto each pipe cleaner. When they are done, curl the pipe cleaner around your child’s finger to end the flower and hold the petals in place.
Yes, it did take me about 20 minutes to cut up all of the flowers. But, my kids made many many flowers and spent at least 45 minutes doing it – with little help from me. Both boys, one 7 and one 4. I also have lots of petals left over, so if I want to pull out the activity on a rainy day I can.