TIME TO GET CRAFTY
Once winter pruning is done and gardens are put to rest, what does a gardener do? For gardening enthusiasts, gardening is a year round pass time and there is plenty to do to satisfy even the most dedicated gardener. It is a time where you can pursue new ideas and get inspired for the coming spring. Check out these 8 fun ideas the whole family can enjoy. These fun projects can get you through the winter months while waiting for spring to return.
There are a number of ways you and your kids can get creative through the cold winter months to be well prepared for spring and summer gardening. One fun way to get kids involved and excited about gardening is to make garden markers out of good old fashioned wooden spoons. Here is a fun idea that is easy, inexpensive, and will involve kids in the gardening process and help them keep track of what is going to be planted in the upcoming months.
- Wooden spoons (Amazon)
- Paint brushes or foam brushes
- Clear acrylic sealant
Write down the plants that you will want markers for. Use a variety of paint colors that kids can choose to brighten your garden area. Get creative, you and the kids can draw pictures of the plants, make designs, and/or label your spoons. After spoons are dry, seal with clear acrylic sealant and they are ready to brighten up your garden area.
Collect some rock from your yard that are big enough to decorate. Wash them and let them dry over night. With a little paint, your kids can create some original and colorful garden markers.
- Water proof paint
- Paint Brushes
- Plastic Gloves
- Paint Sealant (polyurethane)
Lay out some newspaper and pour paint into small old containers. Using gloves is a great idea so kids do not get paint all over their hands. Have a variety of paint brushes available so kids can get creative. This is also a great way to teach kids about different vegetables and their nutrients, their colors, and what they look like. You can lay out the vegetable so they can paint the rocks the same colors and/or paint the vegetable on the rock. Once they are finished and the rocks are dry, paint the name of the vegetable on the rock, spray a coat of paint sealant all over the rock, let dry, and your garden will be full of memorable stakes that can be used over and over again.
Hanging Wood Garden Markers:
If you have some old sheets of wood (plywood, broken furniture, pallets), this is a great idea for making hanging wood garden marker. These markers can be hung on hooks or on a garden fence if you have one.
- Recycled Wood or wood plaques (sold at amazon, or craft stores)
- Markers or paint
- Heavy duty string
- Staple gun
- Yard hooks
- Paint Sealant (polyurethane)
Kids can have a blast decorating these garden stake. They are big enough to be creative and they can offer their own personal touch with personal signatures or hand prints on the back. Have your kids write the name of the vegetable with a picture of them. On the back let them sign and date the plaque and if its big enough let them put their hand print on it. Spray each plaque with 2-3 coats of polyurethane in order to seal and protect it from water. Let dry and staple heavy duty string on the top (each side). Your kids will have so much fun making these garden markers and hanging them on the appropriate garden hook.
Wild Bird Holiday Decorations
What better way to decorate for a variety of holidays than filling trees and shrubs with festive treats. Kids will love to make these homemade garland that they can give away as gifts and will support our feathered friends well past the holidays. They are easy and fun to make for all ages. Stringing cranberries, millet spray, or other tasty bird treats to create garlands that will not only add festive color to your landscape but will attract many different wild birds.
- Bag of cranberries
- Millet sprays or wild bird treats
- Heavy weight thread
- Blunt plastic or metal sewing needle
- Bright red ribbon (birds are attracted to red)
Thread needle (depending on how long you want your garland) and knot it at the end. String your cranberries to the length you want and knot that end. Every six inches or so tie your millet spray to the garland. You can also string some air popped popcorn to you garland, many birds enjoy snacking on this tasty treat also. Caution: never use microwave popcorn, these varieties are extremely high in fat and salt, which can be harmful to bird’s health.
Seed Encrusted Pinecones
Pine cones can be easily found and are great to use for making bird feeders all year round. Kids of all ages love making these backyard snacks for their feathered friends because they are easy, fun, and pretty.
- Dried pine cones
- Peanut butter
- Bird seed
- mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Wax paper
- Red ribbon
Attach red ribbon to the top of your pine cone using a hot glue gun. In a mixing bowl add peanut butter, bird seeds, and mix thoroughly with rubber spatula. Place pine cones on wax paper and spread peanut butter and seed mixture liberally over the pine cones. Freeze the ornaments until you are ready to hang them. If you are giving them as gifts, include a festive note with instructions for storing them in a cool place before they are hung.
Decorate Clay Pots
What better way to create color in your yard than to have your kids decorate and customize some beautiful clay pots. There are several ways to customize pots and this project can help your kids plan and create their very own summer outdoor space or indoor garden space. These personalized clay pots don’t cost much to make and this project is loved by kids of all ages. Let the kiddos get creative with all their ideas and watch them as they really take pride in this craft. These personalized pots can also be lovely gift ideas.
- Terra Cotta Pots
- Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint
- Letter Stencils
- Paint Brushes and/or Foam Brushes
- Sealant (clear spray acrylic)
- Plastic Sheet or Newspaper
Lay Plastic or newspaper down so paint does not get on anything. Clean your pots and let them dry (new pots often have a thin layer of dust on them). Place all materials out such as brushes, sponges, glitter, etc. so the kids can choose the colors and materials they want to use. Spray one or two even, thin coat of waterproof matte, satin, or glossy acrylic sealer in the inside of the pot and let it dry to prevent moisture from leaching through to the outside after the pot is planted. You might want to spray matte sealer on the outside of the pot to seal them, help paint grip to the pot, and prevent it from absorbing too much paint. When pots are thoroughly dry, it is time to choose your paint, you can use Metallic, pearlescent, glittery paint, and/or chalkboard paint to customize your pots. When finished with design, spray the pots with a coat of matte, satin, or glossy sealant.
You and your kids can have a blast making your terracotta pot stand out with a little bit of paint and creativity. These eye-catching pots, can add beautiful colors to your home and garden and you will have a keepsake that will last for years. They can also make great gifts that can display plants at their best.
Create a Terrarium
What better way to teach your kids about plants than making a terrarium. Terrariums are small gardens grown inside a covered glass or plastic container. They are very easy, low maintenance, and teach kids about the water cycle as it relates to evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Terrariums can be a fun projects for kids of all ages.
- An enclosed container (aquariums, goldfish bowl, cookie jar, wide mouth mason jars,
- Pea gravel or small rocks
- Potting soil
- Charcoal to filter the water and help prevent growth of fungi (optional)
- Small indoor plants or tropical plants of different colors, shapes, and textures
- Small figurines
The first step is to pick out your container, if you don’t already have one you can get one in a craft store, or Amazon. Any type of glass container will work, you can even use giant cookie jars. Keep in mind the size of the plants you will be using (you want your container big enough for growth and root system). Next, place a layer of your tiny rocks at the bottom of your container this will function as water drainage, aeration, and looks incredible ( you can add a few granules of filtering charcoal to the top of the gravel to help remove odors and help prevent fungi growth). Pour in potting soil ( use the pots that your plants came in as a guide for the depth your soil needs to be. Now plant your plants, you need to look for plants that are small, slow-growing, and perform well in humid environments. Once done planting, you and your kids can add small objects to create a personalized landscape theme by using decorative rocks, small animal figurines, small bridges or mirrors to look like mini ponds. Finally; place your terrarium in a location with indirect sunlight.
Build a Bug House/Hotel
If your kids are anything like mine, making a bug hotel ranks right up there for an exciting garden activities for the curious tikes. My son loved spending hours outside investigating bugs by looking under rocks, digging in the dirt, investigating webs on bushes, trying to catch fireflies, and trying to save dragonflies and other insects that seemed to be in distress. Creating a bug hotel is one of the most simplistic crafts you can do in the garden with your kids and it is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with them. It is a perfect garden craft for kids that adore exploring all types of bugs and insects. Bug hotels are also beneficial to your garden because they can attract predatory insects which helps control unwanted bugs. You can make solitary hotels for bees or wasps, they are great for bugs that hibernate such as ladybugs or butterflies, and they encouraging biodiversity in the garden which helps to increase ecosystem productivity.
Materials (Bug friendly nesting materials)
- Shadow box or wood box
- Newspaper scraps
- Sticks, bark,
- Leaves, dried
- Flowers, straw
- Burlap, wool
- White glue
- Glue gun and glue
First step is an exciting scavenger hunt, this is the time to hunt for all the cool buggy materials. After you collect all the materials, you then cut or saw them into pieces to fit into the the wood box. Make sure all materials fit tightly into each compartment so they do not move around, shift, or fall out. With your bug friendly glue, secure all objects by putting a layer of white glue in each compartment and let it completely dry. Now that your bug hotel is built, you need to find the perfect spot it. They can be hung from trees, fences, and if you have a pest problem in your garden, place your bug house nearby.
These are some amazingly fun kid friendly projects that you and your whole family can do during the winter months. These projects can help plan and prepare for the coming spring, beautify your inside and outside gardens with precious keepsakes that can be used for years to come, allow your kids imaginations to go wild, and teach your kids about nature, exploring, and observing with hands-on experiential activities. What better way to get through the cold winter months than spending time with the family creating, planning, personalizing, and customizing unique garden spaces.
If you have fun ideas for winter garden projects, please feel free to share them. If you have any questions or would like leave a comment, I would love to hear from you too.