Garden Fun with the Grandkids

When the blue skies and sunshine finally make their spring appearances, it’s time to have some fun with the grandchildren. All kids love planting seeds and seeing things grow. They don’t mind a little mess along the way.

Kids also love to create beautiful things. Several of these projects will suit them to a T. So gather the grandkids and have some Spring Garden Fun.

3-D Doily Flowers

This one is quick and easy and requires a minimum of art supplies:

            White Paper Lace Doilies

            Markers or Paints

            Paper for backing

            Brads

Place the paper doilies on another piece of paper and color them carefully with markers or paints. When dry, fold them in half three times. Open carefully, and affix to a second piece of paper with a metal brad. Fluff. Add stems and leaves with markers. There is your beautiful spring flower.

Homemade Playdough Nature Art

These interesting and beautiful creations begin with homemade playdough that you can bake in the oven to keep your creations forever. When it’s made, roll out pieces in any shape desired. Then use found natural objects such as pine cones, acorns, nuts or dried flowers to roll or poke interesting shapes into the dough. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour. If you want, you can add a small loop of twine or yarn to hang the piece. Display.

            Homemade Playdough Recipe

            4 cups flour

            1 cup salt

            2 T. vegetable oil

            1 1/2  -2 cups hot water

            Optional additions lemon zest and juice of one lemon (added to water), food coloring or

            Scented oil.

Mix the flour and salt. Add oil and water and mix until the right consistency. Knead. If using food coloring, use a neutral color that will show up the indentations made by the found natural objects.

Egg Carton Greenhouses

Save your egg cartons and get an early jump on spring planting with this project. Cut the cartons apart saving only the little cups. Poke a small hole in each cup for drainage. Add soil, plant some seeds, moisten the soil and then cover it with kitchen wrap, using tape to secure it. Place near a window. If watered properly, the seeds will germinate in 7-10 days and little seedlings will rise up to be transplanted out of doors. There’s your greenhouse.

Brilliant Paper Plate Birds

These cute little birds begin with a paper plate and brightly-colored paints. Markers will also do.

            Paper Plates

            Googly Eyes

            Craft Feathers and glue

            Colored paper for tail feathers and beak

Paint the paper plates and allow to dry. A hair dryer speeds up this process. When dry, fold the paper plates in half. Add two googly eyes and an orange or yellow beak at one end. Cut thin paper strips of paper in several colors and staple in a bunch for the tail. Use craft feathers to glue on the side of the bird, creating a wing. If no feathers are available use crumpled up bits of tissue paper. These little birds can stand alone and are super-cute.

Tin Can Birdfeeders

These cute bird feeders begin with a clean tin can with no sharp edges. Scroll down to project ten to see a picture of these feeders.

            Tin Cans (must have a rim like a paint can)

            Hammer and Nail

            Pieceof Dowel about 3” long

            Ribbon

            Bird Seed

            Acrylic paints

Paint the can and allow to dry. Use a hammer and nail to punch one hole at the rim of the open end of the can. Insert a short piece of doweling to serve as a perch. Tie the can to a tree branch with a piece of inch-wide ribbon. Place bird seed in the can.

Mud Pie Kitchen

On a bright and sunny day when you don’t mind a little mess, set your grandkids up in the back garden with all the props they need to make mud pies. You might use a crate or a box as a table, and then add unbreakable kitchen ware such as bowls, muffin tins, baking sheets, spoons and perhaps a teakettle for pouring. Add the dirt and the water and let the fun begin. Don’t forget, grandparents, this will be a brilliant photo opportunity.