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Priceless poppies

Priceless poppies

Make your own remembrance poppies from coffee filters.

Discussion point: We honour the courage and sacrifice of military personnel (both past and present).

Kids are fascinated by the velvet poppies that are available in late October and early November. Prior to taking your kids out to give a donation for a poppy, review with them the historical significance of the poppy.

You will want to explain that it takes great courage to risk your own life in order to protect other people’s lives and their freedom. An ideal way to do this is through reading a children's book.

As your children put their “poppy money” in the collection jar, point out that poppies are available by donation only. Explain that, just as there is no set cost for the poppy, you cannot put a price tag on the lives of the soldiers that have been lost. If there are no poppies available in your area, have your children draw or colour a picture of one.

Another way to highlight the poppy symbol in your home is to make a bouquet of red “coffee filter poppies” as a reminder to pray for the men and women serving courageously in the Canadian military.

Directions for making paper poppies

To make your poppies, gather together the following supplies:

“basket-style” coffee filters                   
red, water-based poster paint
paintbrushes                                        
a pencil
washable plates                                   
wax paper
scissors                                               
green pipe cleaners
black buttons for flower centres

(As an alternative to buttons, use small, circular discs cut from plastic containers and coloured with black permanent marker. You will need to pierce two small holes in the centre of each disc).

  • Start by covering your table with newspaper. Cover another countertop with wax paper so you have a place to leave the painted coffee filters to dry.
  • To contain the paint, give each of your young painters a washable dinner plate. Put a small spot of paint on each plate and have your children “paint” the plate. (If you prefer to skip this somewhat messy step, use red tissue paper instead. Cut multiple layers of tissue using a plate or lid with a 20 cm (8") diameter as your circle template.)
  • Next, lay a coffee filter on the painted plate and ask your kids to paint the top side of the filter. Once the filters are completely covered in paint on both sides, set them on a sheet of wax paper to dry. (You will need two coffee filters and two pipe cleaners for each poppy.)
  • The filters will need about four hours to dry. If you wish, you can use a blowdryer to speed up the process.
  • Once the filters have dried completely, place two filters together and fold them in half. Fold them in half again so you end up with a cone-shaped quarter circle. Do not unfold it. Next, while holding the point of your quarter circle, use your scissors to round off both corners, trimming it to look like a snow cone.
  • When you open the filters up, each one should look like a red four-leaf clover. Place one filter directly on top of the other. (The two filters are used to create fullness and stiffness, while still making a poppy with four petals.)
  • Use a sharp pencil to poke two holes side by side at the centre of the layered filters.
  • Hold the filters and have one child push the pipe cleaner up through one of the holes. About 5 cm (2") of the pipe cleaner “stem” should stick up through the first hole.
  • Next, have a child thread a button on the stem. Fold the pipe cleaner in half and then thread it back down the remaining hole in the button.
  • To finish making the flower, hold the filters firmly at the centre, gathering them into a cup shape while crushing the filters at the centre just enough to allow you to wrap the pipe cleaner around the crushed underside of the flower's centre. Wind the pipe cleaner around three to four times, wrapping it tight enough to secure it permanently.
  • To reinforce the stem, wrap a second pipe cleaner around the first, twisting it all the way from the top to the bottom.
  • Finally, spread the petals open slightly and gently shape the flower.