Garden Crafts

Creative garden activities perfect for you and your child.

Birdbath Spa

It's no wonder that children love to get outside and into the garden. So grab some sunscreen and a hat and start getting your kids' creativity in bloom.

Give your bird friends a treat by creating a backyard "bird spa."

1. To begin, use the clay bottom of a planter for the base of the bath.

2. Put a few rocks in the center so the birds have a place to rest.

3. Fill the planter with water.

4. Then dig a shallow hole in the ground, and place the birdbath directly in the earth, or set it on top of a garden table.

You can also create a smaller birdbath in a window box:

1. Fill a planter box with dirt, and put a shallow plastic container at one end. (This way the birds can perch on the edge of the window box while bathing.)

2. Buy small flowers, and plant them around the container.

3. Cut back the flowers whenever they block access to the bath.

Blooming Pictures

Let Mother Nature be your canvas with these beautiful blooming pictures!

1. Buy various packets of seeds for flowers that grow fast and well in your region.

2. Have your child draw a picture in the garden dirt with a stick.

3. Following package directions, drop the flower seeds into the dirt lines. Draw a matching picture on a piece of paper so you can remember what you drew.

4. Cover the seeds with dirt, and water them every few days. Make sure to take a photo of your artwork when the flowers bloom.

Butterfly Haven

Creating a butterfly garden is easy, even if the only dirt you have available is in a window box. Here's how to begin.

1. Find a section of your garden that gets about six hours of sunlight a day and is sheltered from the wind.

2. Fill it with nectar-producing flowers that will attract butterflies, such as zinnias, purple cornflowers, black-eyed Susans, marigolds, etc. Then look at the height description of each plant on the back of the seed packet, and place taller plants in the back of the garden.

3. For window-box gardens, plant smaller varieties, such as verbena, alyssum, and impatiens.

4. When the flowers begin to bloom, sit near the plants with your child, and watch the butterflies arrive.

5. Get a picture book so you can identify the different varieties of butterflies that have come to visit your garden.

A Not-So-Scary Scarecrow

Scarecrows come in all shapes and sizes: They can be farmers, ballet dancers, fairies, or even construction workers. Here's how to make one of your own.

1. Start by coming up with your own scarecrow ideas by looking through your family's old clothes or costumes.

2. Stuff the old clothes with polyester filling or strips of fabric.

3. Loosely stitch the clothing together by hand using a needle and thread.

4. Cut a hole in the fabric, and slip a pole inside the clothing so your scarecrow can stand up.

5. For a creative twist, put a straw hat on top of your scarecrow's head, or use fruits, flowers, and vegetables (garden fare!) to make an expressive face.

6. Stand your designer scarecrow in a bed of flowers, and enjoy!

Pressed-Flower Pictures

Follow these directions to make beautiful pictures with the colorful and delicate flowers of a garden.

1. Go for a walk through your garden and collect delicate flowers.

2. Next, press the flowers. Phone books make great flower presses. Place a few flowers between a set of pages; then turn to another section of the phone book, and add a few more flowers. When you've put all your flowers in the book, close it, and place a heavy object on top.

3. After a few weeks, check to see if the flowers have dried.

4. When you're ready to make your picture, pour nontoxic liquid glue into a shallow dish. Using your fingers or a paintbrush, put the glue on a piece of paper where the flowers will rest.

5. Pick up the dried flowers with a pair of tweezers, place them on the glue, and let them dry.

6. Use watercolors finger paint, chalk, or colored pencils to complete your masterpiece.

String Bean Teepee

What better place to hide from the summer sun and imagine lands unknown than inside a teepee covered with green vines?

1. Buy six to eight pieces of bamboo that are each 12 feet in length.

2. Arrange them around a six-foot circle, leaving room for a small "entrance," and push the ends three inches into the ground.

3. Take some twine, and tie the upper ends of the bamboo together about one foot down from the top. An older child or adult can hold the bamboo in place while the twine is being wrapped.

4. Plant a variety of string bean seeds that grow well in your region at the base of the teepee. In a few short months, the teepee will be covered with fast-growing vines, leaves, and beans.

Wind Chime Magic

There's no sound as beautiful as a wind chime blowing in the breeze. Follow these directions to make your own magic wind chime.

1. Go on a treasure hunt and look for items that will create a lovely sound when they collide, such as seashells, bells, beads, and stones.

2. If the items are thin enough, poke a hole through them with a nail or hole punch. Then pull a piece of string or nylon thread through each hole, and tie a knot.

3. For heavier objects, such as stones, wrap the string around the object a few times, and rub nontoxic liquid glue over the string to hold it in place.

4. Next, find a colorful plastic lid to serve as the top of the wind chime.

5. Poke holes through the top, and pull the pieces of string or nylon thread through the holes; tie a knot at each end.

6. Finally, punch two holes in the center of the top, and loop a piece of string through the holes. Tie another knot, and hang your wind chime from a nail or the branch of a tree.

Note: If you have young children, avoid using small objects, which can present a choking hazard if swallowed.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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