American Melting Pot
Summer is a great time to plant flowers and spend time in the garden. This summer, give your garden some patriotic punch and introduce your child to the great American mellting pot with a red, white and blue planter for Fourth of July. This is a project you and your child can have a blast doing together, outside on a warm day.
What You Need:
- 1 plain 10-12” round flower pot (either terra cotta or plastic works for this project)
- Acrylic Paint in red, white, and blue (Note: this water-soluble paint is available at craft stores. Make sure you check for the right kind of paint to go with the material of your pot. Most stores sell specialized paints that work especially well on either plastic or clay).
- Three brushes, one for each color
- 3x5” Index card
- Scissors or hobby knife (X-Acto brand words best)
What You Do:
- Start by preparing a flat work surface by covering it completely with old newspapers or plastic. You should definitely take this project outdoors if you can. It's a great opportunity to spend some time with your child outside. If you work indoors, make sure you cover your work area thoroughly, and stay away from all of the fine linens!
- Have your child paint the rim of your flower pot with blue paint, and the entire base with white, and then lay then put the flower pot aside to dry.
- While your painted surfaces dry, help your child prepare a “stencil” using an index card. In the center of the card, have her draw a five-point star (it does not have to be perfect) and then use either scissors or the knife to cut it out. The star should not be bigger than the width of the rim that runs around the top of the pot.
- When the flower pot is dry (this usually takes about 1 hour), have your child use the ruler and chalk to mark parallel horizontal lines, approximately 1-1/4” apart, all around the white-painted base or your pot to make stripes (she might need some extra help with this part). Check to make sure that she ends up with an even number of stripes, because she'll be painting every other one red. If you end up with an odd number, just wipe off the chalk and adjust your width slightly.
- On the top rim that runs around the pot, you and your child will be painting the stars. Help your child place the stencil over one section of the blue rim, and hold it down firmly (parents, you can do the holding while your child does the painting!). Then let your child paint over the star with white paint. Keep going until she's made stars all around the rim.
- On the base of the pot, have your child use the red paint to fill in every other stripe.
- When it’s dry, your pot is ready to be filled with beautiful flowers!
To fill your planter with some patriotic posies, start with a good amount of moist potting soil in your pot. You and your child can choose from any number of red, white, and blue flowers in any combination. Some good suggestions are Hardy Bachelor’s Buttons with White Alyssum, or Red Carnations with White Lobelia, but the sky's the limit! There is a huge selection of beautiful summertime flowers for you to choose from. You and your child can take a trip to your local nursery to expand this activity even further. Not only will it be a fun outing for you and your child to take together, but it will give your child a chance to learn about a wide variety of different kinds of plants. When you and your child are finished, you'll have made a fun and festive planter that brings the spirit of the summertime holidays into your garden.