St. Patrick's Day Pot of Gold Activity
Bring a bit of the luck of the Irish into your St. Patrick's Day celebration by showing your child how to craft a special pot of gold. Combine a festive holiday activity with an educational art project that encourages him to learn about sculpture as a three-dimensional art form. After he designs and crafts his own unique paper mache pot, he'll fill it with "gold" of all sorts. From foil covered chocolate coins to handmade gold pieces, use this St. Patrick's Day original as a fun family centerpiece that holds treasures galore.
What You Need:
- Construction or other thin paper
- Paper mache paste (store bought or made from an online recipe)
- Tempera paint
- Paint brushes or sponges
What You Do:
- Ask him to cut or tear strips of construction paper.
- Blow up one balloon for your child.
- Help him dip the paper strips into the papier-mache paste one at a time. Remember to coat both sides of each paper strip.
- Firmly press the paper strips one at a time around the balloon, covering only half of the surface. This will create the pot shape. Repeat until an entire half of the balloon is covered.
- Set aside to dry. It may be helpful to make a small drying stand. Cut a thin piece of cardboard or other thin paper, and tape into a circle or loop. Place the balloon in this stand to dry.
- Once the papier-mache is fully dry, remove the balloon. Some balloons begin to deflate on their own; others will need to be popped using scissors. Take care of the balloon popping yourself; your child should not take part in that step.
- He'll now have a paper mache sculpture in a pot (or bowl) shape. He can paint the pot of gold in any color that he wishes. Try making different shades and hues of green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!
- Once the pot has dried, fill it with gold of all sorts. Make play gold coins using paper and paint, or try foil-covered chocolate coins. If you are using this as a candy coin dish, remember to line the inside with a protective barrier first. Any paper mache product used by children should be non-toxic; to be safe, it is best not to mix art materials and food directly.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.